Somali pirates bear striking resemblance to those in Blackbeard's day

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Washington, Dec 13 (ANI): An anthropologist has said that the present day Somali pirates bear a striking resemblance to pirates in Blackbeard's day in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The researcher in question is Eric Bowne, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Wake Forest University.

Bowne has studied the social and political world in which piracy in the Atlantic and Caribbean waters developed between the 16th and 19th centuries and how piracy helped shape the modern world.

"Piracy requires certain circumstances in order to thrive, namely friendly ports, a ready market for stolen goods and/or people willing to accept stolen currency, disgruntled men willing to risk the possible consequences, and lax enough security to operate," Bowne said.

"Somalia, just like the colonial Atlantic and Caribbean world of Blackbeard and Black Bart, is thus a 'perfect' setting for piracy," he added.

The tactics of piracy have changed little through the ages.

Pirates use small, fast boats to attack large, less maneuverable ships. They pick targets they can easily overcome with surprise and superior numbers.

Pirates also tend to use hand-held weapons. In the past, it was cutlass and pistol, today automatic rifles and RPG rockets.

"Sometimes pirates are brutal, but generally they do not kill those who willingly surrender," Bowne said.

According to Bowne, "The 'short, merry life' of the typical golden age pirate has a direct counterpart today. What money the Somali pirates obtain is generally spent lavishly on things like clothes, cars, food, and large houses. Money goes out as fast as it comes in, with no thought towards the future."

"India has already sunk one pirate vessel and military pressure is sure to increase in the coming weeks. Soon, the pirate boomtowns of Somalia will disappear, but perhaps Somali children will still hear tales of piracy in their country's waters for centuries to come," he added. (ANI)

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