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The Golden age of piracy starting in the mid-17th century through the early 18th century grew out of European imperialism and European countries claiming land and developing colonies primarily in the Americas and the Caribbean. As colonies were initially a set of relatively ungoverned towns and cities bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the laws of the home country were often too far away to be effectively enforced. As navies were stationed and garrisoned through-out these colonies, men were pressed into service and forced to become sailors. Many pirates initially came from seamen that were pressed into military naval service and who had abandoned their posts in an effort to find a better life as a pirate than to serve under the rule of a harsh naval officer. Once piracy was seen as a lucrative opportunity, other seamen joined in as they felt they had little to lose. These were men mostly from the lowest classes of society with little hope of advancement. Simply put, what drew sailors to piracy was the money. These “dispossessed proletarians” as Rediker puts them, sought the money as an escape from other horrible working conditions. Living in an oppressive society where they were at the bottom of the social order fueled their energy to live free from those pressures and be liberated at sea. Piracy represented a counter-culture to working class men who found resentment with the conventional authority and wanted the chance to be their own authority. Forsaking “fundamental social rules” allowed pirates to exercise that authority in the form of creating their own egalitarian democracies on board their ships. Where a navy could commission and build ships to suit their needs, pirates were not afforded that luxury; and as such, pirate ships were often acquired or “seized”. Therefore pirates had to be searching for ships that they could outfit without damaging in a way that would make them unfit for service. Many scholars believe that pirates would use small boats like a sloop or a full-rigged pinnace in addition to larger ships like a slave ship; however a few warships were known to be used on rare occasion. Slave ships made the best pirate ships due to their inherent open floorplan designs and were often used by many famous pirates. The ships of Edward Teach or “Blackbeard”, Bellamy “Black Sam” and Capt. William Kidd all began as slave ships. A notable exception to this list is Bartholomew Roberts who after seizing a French brigantine captured the larger French warship, the Governor of Martinique. Number of guns and the speed of a ship were both considered the most important attributes of a pirate vessel considering the majority of the treasure, and thus subsequent reward, was earned by giving chase and attacking merchant shipping vessels. Throughout the Atlantic and Caribbean, merchant ships were the most sought after targets as these were often unarmed and loaded with valuable cargo. In the early 18th century, roughly 10,000 ships crossed the Atlantic every year carrying rum, sugar, gold, slaves, spices, clothing and other goods. Raiding commerce from the triangle trade proved to be an excellent source of slaves and slave ships. The actions of Atlantic pirates, who often attacked slave ships and forts, created a crisis in the European slave trade. These actions were so detrimental that Britain viewed pirates as a “fearsome enemy” and a “great threat.”