Pirates in Special Collections!

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Pirates, pirates, pirates!

From the 16th century through the 19th century, pirates interrupted the shipping trade between Great Britain, Spain, France, Africa, and the New World, particularly along the east coast of North America down to the islands of the Caribbean. They attacked and plundered merchant ships as they transported slaves, treasures, tobacco and other goods along and across the Atlantic Ocean.

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Sir Henry Chicheley after Bacon’s Rebellion

In Swem Library’s Special Collections Bound Manuscript Collection, there is a handwritten transcription of some documents from the 1677-1686 Entry Warrant Book of Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. The transcriptions were probably made by Sir William Betham (1779–1853), who was an English herald and antiquarian and held the office of Ulster King of Arms from 1820 until his death in 1853. A typed label on the inside cover states “from the collection of Sir W. Betham, Ulster King at Arms, half russia.” He is known for creating pedigree charts from all the “prerogative wills” of Ireland from 1536-1800.

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