A rich and most fought-over crossroads. When your history reaches back as far as it does in Hampton Roads, the sheer passage of so much time gives you a lot of stories to tell - and many of the earliest and most colorful tales of the Virginia coast revolve around pirates. Located just a few hours sail from the Gulf Stream and the sea lanes to Europe, the waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay were a busy international crossroads linking the rich tobacco, rice and sugar crops of Britain's American colonies with a constant stream of ships bearing cargoes across the Atlantic Ocean. And even before the first permanent English settlement was founded at Jamestown in 1607 by men who had earned notorious records as sea-going adventurers, Spanish galleons sailed past the mouth of the Bay carrying immense quantities of gold and silver from the seemingly inexhaustible mines of South America and Mexico. That vast stream of wealth transformed the waters here into a prime hunting ground for pirates, privateers and sea raiders alike, ranging from English outcasts to French, Dutch and Spanish brigands over a period of more than 150 years. Indeed, Hampton Roads and the lower Chesapeake Bay played landmark roles in the golden age of piracy, overshadowing virtually every other part of what became the United States. No other body of water in North America was fought over so frequently - or produced so many tales about its long and often bloody links to the brigands of the sea. Here are some of those stories.
|Publisher:||Daily Press Media Group|
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About the Author
Mark St. John Erickson is an award-winning writer at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., where he’s explored the pioneering and remarkably continuous historical importance of Hampton Roads, the lower Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding region for 25 years. He lives with his wife and son near the waterfront in the old colonial port town of Hampton, Va., which survived its many brushes with pirates, British raiders and Confederate incendiaries to become the oldest continuous settlement in English America.