On the 10th of February 1722, at Cape Lopez in what is now the West African state of Gabon a Captain Challoner Ogle of the Royal Navy engaged and defeated one of the worlds most notorious outlaws, Bartholomew Roberts.
Roberts had come a long way from his roots in the little Welsh town of Haverfordwest both figuratively and literally.
His journey so far had taken him across the Atlantic from the cool waters of Newfoundland to the blistering equatorial heat he and his crew now suffered. Years of constant running had taken its toll on the men and their vessels, 'The Royal Fortune' and 'The Ranger'. Piracy was losing its appeal, living 'on the run' was part of their occupation but now they were being hunted.
Black Bart, A prize for the plundering. (page 2)
On a few occasions each year the Portuguese would mass a convoy to take produce from Brazil back to Europe. After a few weeks of aimless sailing off the Brazilian coast one such convoy, forty-two ships, came into view. It had not yet fully configured itself, two men-o-war set to guard it but were dragging their anchors some way behind, no doubt thinking they were safe still close to the coast.
Black Bart, A stolen sloop to Barbados. (page 3)
There were numerous laws including the banning of some pastimes pirates would normally take for granted. For instance, anyone caught stealing from the ship would be marooned, no gambling with cards or dice, and no drinking alcohol below deck after eight in the evening. No children or women were allowed on board; further to this if a man smuggled one aboard the penalty was death!