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You can see depictions of pirate organizations in popular media a fair bit. For example, in many movies, and the Captain Morgan commercials. But I get the impression from my readings that most pirate crews operated independently from each other. Of course there were government-sponsored privateers, but their only connection with each other would be that they were sanctioned by the same country.

So were there ever actual organizations of pirates? If so, what were they?

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Anyone who posts an answer on September 19 (International Talk Like a Pirate Day) in pirate lingo gets an automatic upvote. :-) –  T.E.D. Sep 19 '12 at 13:26
Do Somali pirate count or are you looking pre-nineteenth century? –  American Luke Sep 19 '12 at 14:13
@Luke - Hmmm. I think they ought to count, as long as you can show different crews are involved in the same organization. –  T.E.D. Sep 19 '12 at 14:43
I would think there might be some organization around the Barbary Coast pirates, but I never checked on that –  MichaelF Sep 20 '12 at 17:42

2 Answers 2

Arrr, tharr niver has been an orgarrrnization o'pirates in t'traditional sense.

Tharr may well ha' been brief alliarrrnces o' convenyence, for when ye can trust a man no to make ye walk the plank, ye may help each other in gathering in the booty! Also now an' then a Cap'n of dark renown might set up his followers as minor cap'ns in their own right, and so he could head a flotilla o' six or seven ships, all answerin' to hisself. As Oi recall, Cap'n Morgan is said to've led 11 ships, and Blackbeard had several likewise. There were never much formality o'structure and organisation tho', as each Cap'n led by his own charisma an' force o' personality.

We pirates be a free and unruly breed, and don't take kindly to no paperwork. Arrrr!

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+1 jist fer de pirate lingo. Do ye have no sources? Arrr! –  American Luke Sep 19 '12 at 16:35
+1 This is great! LOL –  E1Suave Sep 20 '12 at 0:16
Due to the extreme popularity of this answer, I will withhold my upvote until you can add some sources. But good job! –  called2voyage Sep 19 '13 at 13:49

"Did different ships bearning the skull and crossbones ever come together under one flag?" I kind of doubt it.

The likely result would have been a mutiny against one or more of the ship captains, who would then have been made to "walk the plank."

A Jolly Roger was kind of a loner. Getting two or more of them together was kind of an oxymoron, unless it was for an orgy.

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@T.E.D.: I took up your challenge on September 19, 2013. –  Tom Au Sep 19 '13 at 21:00
Aye, but wherrrr be da' pirrrate lingo, matey? –  T.E.D. Sep 19 '13 at 21:22
"Skull and crossbones," "Jolly Roger, "Walk the plank," "orgy," is that not sufficient? –  Tom Au Sep 19 '13 at 21:42

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