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Pirate Code of Conduct

Picture of Pirates

Picture of Pirates

The Pirate Code of Conduct
The Pirate Code of Conduct. A Pirate ship required a level of discipline and a Pirate Code of Conduct. The Pirate Code of Conduct was an important agreement between the Pirate Captain and his crew. The Pirate Code of Conduct consisted of a number of agreements between the Captain and pirate crew which were called Articles.

The Pirate Code of Conduct was necessary as pirates were not governed by any other rules such as Naval regulations. Pirate captains were elected and could lose their position for abuse of their authority. The captain enjoyed few privileges:

"The Captain or any other Officer is allowed no more [food] than another man, nay,
the Captain cannot keep his Cabbin to himself."

The Pirate Code of Conduct
An example of the Pirate Code of Conduct dealt with the following subjects:

  • Pirate Code of Conduct 1 - Equal Voting Rights
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 2 - Fair share of the loot and pirates punishments for those who cheated
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 3 - Gambling was banned
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 4 - No lights at night - a pirates sleep should not be disturbed
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 5 - Each pirate was responsible for the upkeep of their weapons
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 6 - No Boys or women allowed on board
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 7 - Penalty for Desertion
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 8 - No fighting between pirates on board the ship
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 9 - A Pension according to the severity of wounds
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 10 - Shares of the loot or booty
  • Pirate Code of Conduct 11 - Musicians available to play when required.
These Pirate codes of conduct ensured a well-run and harmonious ship.

The Pirate Code of Conduct - Bartholomew Roberts Shipboard Articles 1721
A specific Pirate Code of Conduct was agreed by Bartholomew Roberts' in the Shipboard Articles of 1721.
Bartholomew Roberts, also known as "Black Bart" or "Black Barty", was one of the most successful pirates, The following Code of Conduct was agreed by Bartholomew Roberts and his Pirate Crew - an important element of the success of this particular Pirate

Pirate Code of Conduct Bartholomew Roberts Shipboard Articles 1721

  • ARTICLE I - Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.
  • ARTICLE II - Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes,
    because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.
  • ARTICLE III - None shall game for money either with dice or cards.
  • ARTICLE IV - The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.
  • ARTICLE V - Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
  • ARTICLE VI - No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.
  • ARTICLE VII - He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
  • ARTICLE VIII - None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man's quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command from the quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draweth first blood shall be declared the victor.
  • ARTICLE IX - No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of l,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.
  • ARTICLE X - The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.

Pirate Code of Conduct
Additional details, facts and information about Famous Pirate can be accessed via the Elizabethan Era Sitemap or the following links:

Famous Elizabethan Pirates
Famous Pirates
Famous Women Pirates
Famous Pirate Ships
Pirate Flags
The Pirate Song
Pirate Clothing
Anne Bonney
Mary Read
The Age of Exploration
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