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Pirates of the Bahamas

Pirates of the Bahamas is a series of historical novels set in the Bahamas and Colonial America in the time frame from 1740 to the American Revolution, as seen through the eyes of the fictional children of Anne Bonny and Mary Read.  Piracy had been eliminated from the Bahamas by Woodes Rogers in the early 1720s, but re-emerged in the Bahamas in the 1740s and this new generation of adventurers became critically important to the American Colonists as they developed into an independent nation.

Pirates of The Bahamas, the first book in the series, is an historical pirate adventure romance and introduces the main characters.  Jack Read is the pirate son of Mary Read and Calico Jack Rackham, and Mary Burleigh is the well-bred daughter of Anne Bonny.  Opportunistic pirates operating out of The Bahamas at this time were primarily interested in intercepting merchant cargo being shipped back and forth between Colonial America and the West Indies but would also take high value hostages to ransom them back to their families

In 1733 the British parliament, in an attempt to regulate commerce and collect duties by forcing trade through the ports of Kingston and Nassau, passed the molasses act which imposed a high tax on molasses or rum coming from any non-British island and also made it illegal for the colonies to trade alcoholic beverages directly between one another.  The molasses act was not enforced initially, however, because in 1742 England was at war with both France and Spain so there was no worry about the authorities collecting; the colonials were able to freely trade with other nations.  When the hostilities with Spain and France ended, however, Britain began to look at collecting revenue from the colonies to help pay for the war costs. Although it provoked much anger among the American colonists, enforcement of the molasses act began in 1750.

The end of the war had also brought economic concerns for the pirates who had become privateers but had been released from government employment.  The more entrepreneurial among them, the ones who had fast ships capable of outrunning the British revenue cutters, elected to help the American colonists avoid what they felt were unjustified taxes by smuggling for them.  With the help of the former pirates, American goods were traded with the ever obliging merchants on Harbour Island, Bahamas, or went directly to French Martinique where the rum was cheap.

Other out of work privateers became wreckers, salvaging goods from ships which were unfortunate enough to become lost on the Bahamian reefs. Since the islands of the Bahamas were owned by England any wrecks that occurred there were considered property of the crown and licensed wreckers were paid 60% of the value of the salvaged goods that they brought into Nassau.  For all practical purposes, wrecking was simply piracy under a different name.

The second book, Rum and Wrecks, is set in this time frame featuring wreckers and rum runners.