the story of piracy – anche i pirati hanno una storia

The history of piracy starts in 500 BC, the time of ancient Greece and Rome, when  pirates sailed the Mediterranean Sea and attacked the cargo ships (= navi merci). Also Julius Caesar, at the age of 25, was captured by Cilician pirates and was a prisoner on an Dodecanese islet. Back in Rome, he sent a fleet (= flotta) to catch and kill the pirates.
Most of the pirates in the Mediterranean Sea were called corsairs. They were Muslims (= Mussulmani) and they mainly predate Christian ships. Usually they were not after treasures or ships, but after  people. They took rich people for ransom (= riscatto),  sold them as slaves or also forced them to work on their galleys (= galee). In 846 Muslim raiders (=predatori) sacked (= saccheggiarono) Rome and damaged the Vatican.
Piracy  was  practised also in Northern Europe. In particular during the Middle Ages  the Vikings travelled across the North Sea and invaded Britain. Their ships were  fast and long , with a flat-bottom (= fondo piatto) to travel up river and attack  inland (= nell’entroterra)  villages.  Also Saint Patrick was captured and enslaved (= reso schaivo)) by Irish pirates.
In the first half of the 7th century, in Italy, Venice was often raided (= razziata)  by a Slavic tribe from Pagania, a  land between Dalmatia and Zachlumia. They were known as the Narentines, and raided Venetian traders coming back from the southern coasts, sometimes together with the Arabs. The fight continued during the 10th-11th centuries.
After the discovery of America, pirates began to travel in the Caribbean Sea,  the Spanish Domain. These pirates attacked  merchant ships, the galleons,  which were quite large, slow and heavy and carried enormous treasures.
The first headquarter of the pirates was the small, rocky island of Tortuga because it had a protected harbour. There the pirates built a big armed fort with 24 cannons.
Afterwards, the pirates repaired in Port Royal, a  British possession with a lively night.  The British  usually did not interfere in the lives of the pirates. Unfortunately for the pirates, in 1692, an earthquake (= terremoto)and a giant wave (= onda gigantesca) destroyed Port Royal.
Soon the situation changed: the Europeans, fed up (= stufi) with raids and destructions, built bigger, faster and  stronger steam ships. The pirates could not take them. It was the end of that form of piracy  
When the British captured the pirates, they sent them to prison in England or pardoned them.  Usually the younger ones got pardon if they  accepted certain terms. Instead the condemned pirates were hanged in the first American port and their  bodies were shown  in cages (= gabbie).                                                                                                                                                 
However, piracy still continues today. Modern day pirates use high-tech  equipment like speed boats, automatic rifles, and machine guns. They use computers and contact each other with radios.  In the middle of the night they  climb ropes to get on to the deck and take all of the treasure. Then they go back into their boats and disappear into the darkness.