Pirate Discussion Questions

My two-hour pirate class is go for next Sunday Saturday. Apart from the trivia questions I already posted, here are some more interesting discussion questions I plan on asking. More points/treasure/candy will be given out to the teams/ships with better answers. What do you think about these:

  • Why did piracy flourish in the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries? (There are a ton of reasons, none of which is buried treasure.)
  • You are putting together a new pirate journey. You need to draw up articles for your voyage. Come up with at least 5 rules for your ship. Think about how the plunder should be divided, what things should be specifically against the rules, what should happen if someone gets injured while taking a ship, etc.
  • Now you need to recruit some sailors for your pirate ship. How would you find new pirates? Where would you look for them, and what kind of people would you look for? What would you say to them to get them to join up?
  • You capture a ship without any resistance. You steal all the treasure, obviously, but what do you do with the enemy crew? Hold them as hostages, or invite them to join your crew, or just dump them on an island somewhere? Or would it be more prudent just to kill them? Why?
  • You’re a buccaneer about to set sail from a British port, and you hear that the Governor is willing to give you an official license to sail around and capture ships, if you promise to only attack the Spanish, and to come back when the war is over. What do you do? Why do you think he’s making such an offer? Would you go to the governor and ask for the license? If you did, what would you do once you had it? If not, why not?
  • Sir Francis Drake, without a Letter of Marque (“pirate license”), sailed to the New World and sacked Spanish ships during a time of war. When he returned, he gave Queen Elizabeth I a fortune in gold and silver, but she had just signed a truce with Spain. So she accepted the money and thanked him, but couldn’t acknowledge it officially. Sir Henry Morgan always had a Letter of Marque when he attacked the Spanish, given to him by English governors who didn’t officially have authorization to give out Letters of Marque, but Morgan might not have known that. The question is, who is a pirate, and who is a privateer?
  • You are a pirate captain, and you’re trying to decide where to go a-pirating next. You think there are better pickings to the east, but most of the crew wants to go west, where you don’t think there are as many ships to take. What should you do? Would you give in to what your crew wants, or insist on doing what you want? Why? Don’t think about whether east or west is better — think about how you, as a pirate captain, would handle your crew.
  • You have been caught, and are awaiting trial for piracy in an English colonial court. Your goal is to not get hanged. What do you do? Do you have a chance at trial? Is Can a trial be avoided? Could you perhaps convince the governor of the colony to let you off somehow? Remember, you’re a pirate, and not worried about being ethical.
  • You’ve retired from piracy with a ton of money, and are friends with the Governor. One day, he asks you for the best way to cut down on pirates. Assuming you give him an honest answer, what do you say? Would that approach work nowadays, with the Somalian pirates? If not, what would?

One response to “Pirate Discussion Questions

  1. These sound like great topics. it would be fun to be in the conversation. I especially like the 2nd and 3rd points about deciding on rules and picking a crew. Good luck.

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