Professor Henry FraserArchitecural Historian / Heritage Consultant
Chairman, Sentinel Committee, Barbados National Trust
Writer, TV Presenter, National Orator & Motivational Speaker
Professor Emertius, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology.
Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.


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A Lecture to mark International Maritime Week, September 27th, 2011

Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre, Bridgetown

Professor Emeritus Henry S. Fraser

The phrase Pirates OF the Caribbean, to today’s generation of young people, means the magnificent Walt Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl, and its three sequels, with the magnetic actor Johnny Depp playing the role of the swash-buckling dare-devil pirate Jack Sparrow, and all the romance of Disney world, with ghost ships and ghosts and phantasmagoric creatures of the deep – Four billion US dollars worth of fantasy, romance and imagination!

The phrase Pirates IN the Caribbean, to MY generation, meant the famous bands of Caribbean pirates or buccanneers of the early 18th century – mostly English, but also French, Spanish and Dutch … from Sir Henry Morgan of Barbados and Jamaica and Calico Jack Rackham …. To the gentleman pirate of Barbados Stede Bonnet, and the famous female pirates Anne Bonney and Mary Read….

But the Title of tonight’s lecture – Pirates AND the Caribbean is intended to be a broad historical sweep, from the earliest days of shipping, of ancient Indian, Chinese and Mediterranean piracy, through the vast plethora of global piratical escapades, including the so-called golden age of Caribbean pirates, to today’s explosion of piracy in the Indian Ocean off Somalia and elsewhere … it is intended not just to recall the dramatic stories of piracy affecting every nation, and especially our own sordid Caribbean history, but to bring us all up to date with modern piracy and its similar sister armed robbery on the water, and the threat it poses, and to alert us to the very real risk of a new age of Caribbean piracy.

Let’s start with the etymology or origin of the word, and a definition of its use today:

It comes from the Latin word pirata, meaning a sailor or a sea robber, and the Greek, peirates, a brigand or pirate… note that definition … a brigand or a pirate … literally means one who attacks, from the Greek word Peiran, to attack …. It was in 1701 that it was first used also to mean taking another’s work without permission, as people so commonly do today with music and videos.

The free, online dictionary defines a pirate as

1. One who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without commission from a sovereign nation – if there was a commission he’s called a privateer, and it’s kind of legal in times of war…..

2. One who preys on others; a plunderer.

Henry Fraser Historic Houses Of Barbados Book CoverHistoric Houses of Barbados
Written by Henry Fraser & Ronnie Huges.
Available at all book leading book stores in Barbados.

Henry Fraser Treasures Of Barbados Book CoverTreasures of Barbados
Written by Sir George Alleyne and edited by Henry Fraser.
Available at the UWI Bookshop the publishers.

Henry Fraser Chattle House Book CoverBarbados Chattel Houses
Written by Henry Fraser and Bob Kiss.
Available at all leading book stores.

Henry Fraser A-Z Barbados Book CoverA-Z of Barbados Heritage
Written by Sean Carrington, Henry Fraser, John Gilmore and Addington Forde.
Available at Days Bookstore Barbados and

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