|Old Madagascar Map|
Well known pirates such as William Kidd, Henry Every, John Bowen, and Thomas Tew made Antongil Bay and St. Mary’s Island (a small island 12 miles off the north-east coast of Madagascar) their bases of operations. The pirates plundered merchant ships in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. They deprived Europe-bound ships of their silks, cloth, spices, and jewels. Vessels captured going in the opposite direction (to India) lost their coin, gold, and silver. The pirates robbed the Indian cargo ships that traded between ports in the Indian Ocean as well as ships commissioned by the East India Companies of France, England, and the Netherlands. The pilgrim fleet sailing between Surat in India and Mocha on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula provided a favourite target, because the wealthy Muslim pilgrims often carried jewels and other finery with them to Mecca. Merchants in India, various Ports of Africa, and Réunion Island showed willingness to fence the pirates' stolen goods. The low-paid seamen who manned merchant ships in the Indian Ocean hardly put up a fight, seeing as they had little reason or motivation to risk their lives. The pirates often recruited crewmen from the ships they plundered.
Today the pirate cemetery is still found on the island of St. Mary Island (Ile Sainte Marie) and can still be visited. Below are a few pictures that was taken in the cemetry:
- From Madagascar to the Malagasy Republic by Raymond K. Kent. Westport, Conn. Greenwood Press, 1976. ISBN 0-8371-8421-5 pages 55–71
- http://www.fortunecity.co.uk/amusement/golf/200/defoe.html, retrieved 2008-01-08
- A general history of the robberies & murders of the most notorious pirates. By Charles Johnson Introduction and commentary by David Cordingly. Conway Maritime Press (2002).
- Pictures by Juan Nel