In the late 17th century…

In the late 17th century, the pirate Henry Avery became the richest pirate in the world after raiding a treasure laden ship belonging to the Grand Ruler of India. He stole £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to £89.6M today. The world’s first worldwide manhunt was called on him. Although a number of his crew were subsequently arrested, Every himself eluded capture, vanishing from all records in 1696; his whereabouts and activities after this period are unknown. Unconfirmed accounts state he may have changed his name and retired, quietly living out the rest of his life in either Britain or an unidentified tropical island, while alternative accounts consider Every may have squandered his riches. Henry Avery is considered to have died anywhere between 1699 and 1714; his treasure has never been recovered.

Pirates rarely plundered gold, silver, and jewels…

Pirates rarely plundered gold, silver, and jewels. Their most common plunder was trade goods such as bolts of cloth, tanned animal skins, spices, sugar, dyes, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, and wood. That’s because most ships didn’t sail around with gold, silver, and jewels. Those things were on land, and paid for the bolts of cloth, tanned animal skins, spices, sugar, dyes, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, and wood that the sailors brought them. The military ships that occasionally did haul treasure were heavily guarded.