Pirates sailed far from the Caribbean

Posted: 03/04/2012 in all marine news

The Chronicle Herald – 

Hoping to unearth buried pirate treasure ? Dream on.

Contrary to novels and movie lore, pirates didn’t bury their treasure — they spent it.

“They took their loot seriously but spent it as quickly as they could because they knew they wouldn’t be around very long,” says Dan Conlin, author of Pirates of the Atlantic: Robbery, Murder and Mayhem off the Canadian East Coast.

“There’s not one single historical account of pirates burying treasure.”

Conlin, who also was the curator of the pirates exhibit at Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in 2007, brings a treasure trove of fascinating facts to the half-hour documentary Pirates and Privateers, airing Sunday at noon on CBC-TV’s Land and Sea.

The documentary was written and directed by Halifax’s award-winning Geoff D’Eon, best known for his work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Doc Zone, and produced by Edward Peill of Tell Tale Productions Inc. of Halifax.

Pirates and Privateers also features Bill Gilkerson, a Martins Point artist and the author of Pirate’s Passage and A Thousand Years of Pirates, locally filmed re-enactments and clips from old Hollywood features.

“A lot of stuff happened here and I don’t think people realize pirates were not just in the Caribbean,” says Peill, who has done a little (unsuccessful) treasure hunting of his own.

“They were here, though they didn’t leave a lot of traces behind.” He says he drew from so much interesting material that he could have created separate documentaries on pirates and privateers, who are often lumped together.

Pirates were floating anarchists, Conlin says. “They were thieves and would attack everyone,” Conlin says.

“They were loyal only to themselves and their shipmates. They declared themselves Enemies of All Mankind. It was them against the world.”

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