Sir Francis Drake: Pirate, Explorer, Human Rights Pioneer

by Jennifer Ciotta

Most pirates, evil by nature, swashbuckling creatures who roamed the Earth's seas, have seldom been portrayed correctly in literature and film.  Often seen as the "romantic life," real piracy served as an odious career ... literally.  It was a well-known fact in the barbaric 16th century that when pirates arrived in port towns, the aroma in the air rose to putrid levels.

At sea, atrocious sanitary conditions prevailed.  Rats scurried along makeshift beds in sleeping quarters while most food carried squirming weevils.  Infected limbs were amputated without anesthesia.  ...

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