Piracy refers to various forms of armed criminal activity at sea, most commonly robbery of ships, either stealing their cargo or the vessels themselves. One who engages in such activity is known as a Pirate. Pirates who are employed as mercenaries by various nations are known as Privateers. Piracy has existed since the earliest ages of maritime commerce, from pirate galleys in the Mediterranean sea in the classical world, pirate junks in Southeast Asia, age of sail piracy in the Caribbean Sea, to modern day pirates using speedboats and AK-47s.
The term "piracy" has also come to be associated with the theft of intellectual property in the modern world, especially computer software and entertainment media.
Real World Pirates
- Gráinne Ní Mháille aka Grace O'Malley (16th century)
- Blackbeard (late 17th - early 18th century)
- Anne Bonny (8 March 1702 – 22 April 1782)
- Barbary Corsairs (16th-19th centuries)
- Somalian coastal pirates (modern)
Piracy in Science Fiction
An analogue to conventional piracy exists in many science fiction universes in space. This is called Space Piracy. Some Space Pirates include...
- The Turanic Raiders from Homeworld
- The raiders in The Planet Pirates series, by Elizabeth Moon
- The Lucian Alliance from Stargate
- The Lorell Raiders were the original settlers of the Hapan Cluster. (Star Wars EU)
In some fantasy and steampunk settings, another exotic form of pirate exists known as "air pirates", who use aircraft to raid targets (often other aircraft). Air pirates serve as the main antagonists in the cartoon series, Tailspin.