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Jamaica discipline


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A code of laws, operative in the 17th and early 18th centuries, which was adopted by the buccaneers of the West Indies, and later by privateers of the same area, respecting the running of their ship and the division of prize captured by them. Under these laws, the captain of a buccaneer ship received two shares of any booty, officers one and a half shares each, and seamen one share each. In some ships additional rules were adopted dealing with women on board and drinking hours. The ships were run very democratically with captains being voted into their positions and one, or sometimes two, men being appointed to speak on behalf of the crew; and any ship's crew, if they voted against it, or any individual, could freely decide not to take part in a raid if they did not wish to do so. One French buccaneer recorded that the regulations drawn up on his ship condemned anyone to forfeit his share of the loot ‘if convicted of cowardliness, rape, drunkenness, disobedience, larceny, and failure to obey orders’ (R. de Lussan, Journal of a Voyage into the South Seas in 1684, trans. Marguerite Eyer Wilbur (1930), from P. Earle, The Pirate Wars (2003), 121).

Subjects: Maritime History.


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