Long John Silver Trust

Each day we offer you at least one different Fact of the Day, which is usually Pirate orientated:
Fact of the Day:-

The Snaphance Firing Mechanism: The snaphance was a development of the earlier snaplock mechanism, the main difference being the Snaphance used an automatic pan-cover (to keep the priming dry until the exact moment of firing) similar to that used in the wheel-lock, whereas the Snaplock had a manually operated pan cover similar to that of the matchlock.

The Snaphance also used the lateral sear mechanism from the wheel-lock to connect trigger to cock, and later, improved models also had a variety of safety mechanisms to prevent accidental discharge of the gun.

The Snaphance was used from the late 1550s until modern times (in North African guns), but by about 1680 it was out of fashion everywhere except Northern Italy where it persisted until the 1750s.

In Europe, and especially France, the Snaphance was replaced by the flintlock with its combined steel/pan cover starting from about 1620. In England, a hybrid mechanism called the English Lock replaced the Snaphance from the same date. Both the flintlock and the English lock were cheaper and less complex than the Snaphance.

Fact of the Day:-

To society, pirates were lawless bands of thieves who lacked honour and respect. Among themselves, however, they had a strict code of conduct that ensured democracy.

Codes of conduct differed between groups, but all were designed to promote a stable, equitable system in which the good of the group was the priority. The agreement to work together provided for the sailors psychological needs and ensured some security. Pirates accused of misconduct were tried by their crew mates, who decided their guilt or innocence and what punishment was justified. At the beginning of a new voyage, or upon the election of a new captain, new articles would be drawn up and sworn to upon a bible or axe. Each man signed, or marked if they were illiterate, their agreement to the articles.

Fact of the Day:-

The Term Snaphance or Snaphaunce refers to a mechanism for igniting a firearm's propellant in a muzzle loading gun. The mechanism, which first appeared in the late 1550s, uses flint and steel to create a shower of sparks to ignite the propellant in the gun. The flint is held in a clamp at the end of a bent lever called the cock. Upon pulling the trigger, this moves forward under the pressure of a strong spring and strikes a curved plate of hardened steel - called simply the steel, or in 17th century English dialect the frizzen - producing a shower of sparks (actually white hot steel shavings). These fall into a flash pan holding priming powder. The flash from the pan travels through the touch hole causing the main charge of gunpowder to deflagrate.

Fact of the Day:-

The Barbary Coast Pirates preyed upon ships and coastal settlements for several hundred years, from the time of the Crusades until the early nineteenth century. Their name derives from the location of their stronghold along the coast of Northern Africa.

The Barbary Coast Pirates comprised a diverse group who operated out of Tunis, Algiers, Sale, Tripoli, and ports of Morocco. Their reputation, however was said to extend as far North as Iceland and to the Atlantic seaboard, giving them an impressive place in history and historical literature.

Fact of the Day:-

The Snaphance Firing Mechanism: The origin of the name Snaphance is thought to come from the Dutch language "Snap Haan" or German language "Schnapphahn" and has two attributions. The first is that the action of the mechanism was likened to a chicken pecking at grain (thus the name "cock" for part of the mechanism). The second attributes the use of this type of gun to chicken thieves, who would be given away by the sight and smell of a burning match if they had used the earlier matchlock gun, instead of a Snaphance in their nocturnal depredations.

The German word Schnapphahn had however since moved away from the earlier definitions and has traditionally referred to a mounted highwayman, who would have been likely to use a firearm of that nature.

Fact of the Day:-

The island of Tortuga, which means "turtle" in Spanish, became established as a pirate port following several skirmishes between Spanish and French settlers beginning in 1625.The tiny island was an ideal spot from which the French conquerors could launch sloops for silent and brutal attacks on vessels sailing throughout the Caribbean.

Situated just north of Haiti (then called Hispaniola), Tortuga featured a craggy outline in the shape of a monstrous sea turtle; thus, its second name Ile de la Tortue (turtle island). The first French settlers hunted and sold meat and hides to those who entered the harbour on ships. They became known as buccaneers, derived from the word boucan, which is French for meat. However, the hunters heard of the successes of many pirates, and soon abandoned the hard work of selling barbecued meat and took to the seas themselves.