BAHAMAS PIRATES TIME FRAME:  Golden Age of Piracy to American Independence, 1722 to 1873

1722 marked the end of the Golden Age in the Caribbean and piracy was essentially wiped out in the Bahamas.  British navy patrols enforced this.

1742, the War of Austrian Succession resulted in France and Spain being allied against England and opened up a new era of naval hostilities in the West Indies.  With British warships concentrated against their enemies around the islands in the southern Caribbean, the Bahamas were once again freed up to become a haven for pirates to intercept merchant ships trading between the American colonies and Jamaica.

1748, the War of Austrian Succession ended but the Royal Navy kept the warships in Jamaica and not the Bahamas.

1756, England again declared war on France and also began attacking them in the Caribbean, calling for and commissioning privateers.  However, the American Colonies who were getting cheap molasses from Martinique continued to do business with the French using former pirates who had turned to smuggling. With the British fleet concentrated in Jamaica and making frequent attempts to conquer Cuba, the Bahamas continued to be a good hunting ground for pirates as well as a base for smugglers.

1762, Britain formally declared war against Spain and finally took Cuba.

1763, the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Year War and hostilities against the French and the Spanish concluded. Britain traded Cuba for Florida and British warships began to patrol both Bahamian waters and the straits of Florida.

1763, British Prime Minister George Grenville cracked down on bribery and illegal trading in the American colonies. Eight warships and twelve armed sloops were sent to patrol American waters in an attempt to put an end to the smugglers. Previously, many customs officers had remained in England while sending low-paid underlings to America to do the dirty work. but Grenville ordered these officers to take up their posts in America or resign, firing them immediately if they neglected their duties.  Customs duties were designed to not only raise revenue but to also regulate and control trade, so Grenville created a list of proposals to raise revenue and curtail smuggling. In 1764, Parliament enacted these proposals, called the Sugar Act, into law.

1765, the Stamp Act was imposed to provide increased revenues to meet the costs of defending the enlarged British Empire. It was the first British parliamentary attempt to raise revenue through direct taxation on a wide variety of colonial transactions, including legal writs, newspaper advertisements, and ships’ bills of lading. Enraged colonists nullified the Stamp Act through outright refusal to use the stamps as well as by riots, stamp burning, and intimidation of colonial stamp distributors.

1767, a series of four acts, the Townshend Acts were passed by the British Parliament in an attempt to exert authority over the colonies through strict collection of revenue duties. The acts were resisted everywhere with verbal agitation and physical violence, deliberate evasion of duties among merchants, and overt acts of hostility toward British enforcement agents, especially in Boston. In response, in October 1768, Parliament dispatched two regiments of the British army to Boston.

1770, a small British army detachment that was threatened by mob harassment opened fire and killed five people, an incident soon known as the Boston Massacre.

1773, protesting the monopoly of the East India Company, a group of merchants in Boston, disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded ships at anchor and dumped £10,000 worth of tea into the harbor, an event popularly known as the Boston Tea Party.

1774, in retaliation for colonial resistance to British rule during the winter of 1773–74, the British Parliament enacted four measures that became known as the Intolerable Acts: the Boston Port Act, Massachusetts Government Act, Administration of Justice Act, and Quartering Act. Rather than intimidating Massachusetts and isolating it from the other colonies, however, these acts became the justification for convening the First Continental Congress later in 1774.

1775. convinced that war with Great Britain was inevitable, Virginian Patrick Henry defended resolutions for equipping the Virginia militia to fight against the British in a speech in a Richmond church with the famous words, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

1775, Paul Revere rode from Charlestown to Lexington to warn that the British were marching from Boston to seize the colonial armory at Concord. On arrival, the British were met by hundreds of militiamen. Outnumbered and running low on ammunition, the British were forced to retire to Boston with American snipers taking a deadly toll along the way.

1775, combat taking place on Breed’s Hill (mistakenly named Battle of Bunker Hill) in Charlestown was part of the colonists siege of British-held Boston. British troops eventually cleared the hill of the entrenched American colonists, but at the cost of more than 40 percent of the assault force.

1775, the colonial conflict with the British had, more or less, been considered a civil war, but the publication of Thomas Paine’s 50 page pamphlet, Common Sense, put forward the idea of independence.

1776, the Colonial Congress recommended that colonies form their own governments and the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. On July 2 the Congress voted for independence