Brotherhood of the Coast

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Tortuga Island

Tortuga is a rocky, steep island and of difficult access; it was the refuge of buccaneers from the seventh decade of the 17th century until the 18th. In the whole island there was a unique bay, protected by a mountain, in which summit a castle was built, which pirates named the “Dovecot”. Its inhabitants lived exclusively of piracy and plunder. Its port turned into a great warehouse of everything that was stolen. There had to stop English, French and Dutch ships, so the pirates of Tortuga used to exchange with them the booty obtained for clothes, cannons, gunpowder, wine, beer, brandy … This was  a buccaneers land, in its taverns were dictated the ” Brotherhood of the Coast ” laws.

Among the main rules to keep by the “Brotherhood” can be mentioned:

  • It was forbidden any exercise of patriotism or religion.
  • Private property was prohibited
  • The brotherhood could not interfere in personal decisions.
  • The brotherhood could be abandoned anytime.
  • All members were equals
  • Each member should choose a fellow, who, in case of death, would become his heir.
  • There were indemnizations in case of disabiliity
  • Democratic principles: the captain shoul be elected or deposed
  • The booty should be equally distributed beetween the crew
  • The major organ of government is the Assembly, in which every crew member has equal vote. A decision of the Assembly must be always respected
  • A slight lack (fight or breach of an order) was punished by a certain number of scourges.
  • A serious lack (thefts, delation or murders) was punishable by death, amputation of nose and ears or marooning