In each age since ships were invented piracy was a major problem for those that were honest on the sea. In many places piracy is directly connected to commerce, countries would often attack others in secret trying to control trade routs that directly led to more wealth for there country. Greeks, Romans and most of there neighbors were known to participate in piracy in secret.
After the fall of the Roman Empire several different civilizations grew that relied heavily on piracy. Among these were the Vikings and the Moors. The Vikings were a group in northern Europe you continually raided the defenseless villages of what is now England , occasionally settling in the land they had just attacked by ship.
Most pirates crews were the remnants of the crews of the great navy vessels that sailed during the renaissance. The most common group of Pirates was the privateers. Privately owned ships soon became privateers with notes from governments to attack enemies of the state. With every successful kill they would gain more money from there sponsoring government. The crew of privateers then got to keep the majority of the money from the plundered ships and harbors. When wars were over the temptation to become a pirate and attack every ship no matter what origin was great. Privateers were ships that were privately owned and were commissioned by a government to make reprisals, to gain reparation for specified offenses in time of peace, or to prey upon the enemy in time of peace, or to prey upon the enemy in time of war. The officers and crew of such a privateer could keep a large part or all of the money from the captured vessels. When a privateer was less successful the temptation to become a pirate, and attack every ship in sight regardless of what nation, was often great. Among the most common was the privateers turned pirates of the Spanish Main .
There were other areas of piracy such as the Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean , who terrorized the infant navy of the United States under Tomas Jefferson’s administration. Piracy continued though out the year gradually declining in frequency and grandeur.