Piracy Tourism – The Caribbean Calling

Are you ready for boarding? The years between 1650 and 1730 are considered to have been the Golden Age of Piracy. This period can be divided into different stages, depending on who attacked whom. For example, in the first phase, mostly Anglo-French buccaneers assaulted Spanish colonies. Most of today’s knowledge about piracy has its origin in a book written by the Dutch-French pirate Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, called „De Americaensche Zee-Rovers“, Dutch for ‘The American Sea-Raiders’. The book was a bestseller and was translated into all European languages.

On the Caribbean island St. Kitts, belonging to the island state St. Kitts and Nevis, you can visit a monument from these exciting times, bearing the name Brimstone Hill Fortress. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is an exhilarating sight. The fortress is built on a hill near the seaside and consists of solid stone walls that have openings for cannons. The erection of Brimstone Hill began in 1690 by the French and the English who shared possession of St. Kitts at that time. It was used to defend the nearby Fort Charles against any sort of attackers, other European warships and pirates alike. In 1852, the site was abandoned since the economic focus shifted towards Asia and Africa.

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Another site to visit for pirate fans is Wallilabou Bay on St. Vincent, the main island of the island nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines. What happened there? A Spanish raid on an English Fort? Was it a pirate nest like the infamous Port Royal? Neither is true. The bay was used as filming spot for part one of the Hollywood movie Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp. Now the remnants of the movie set are quite dilapidated, a derelict pier for instance, and two ruined towers. But is that not what we want to see? A recently-built booming pirate town in its heyday wouldn’t be so authentic.

 

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