Pirates and Politics: An Assessment of American Piracy's Impact on English and Spanish Foreign Relations, 1669-1674
Gerhold, Kelly Bond
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In the 1670s, despite a peace treaty with claims to the contrary, England still stood to benefit from piracy in the Caribbean at least as much as from peaceful trade with the Spanish Empire. As such, the English government deliberately looked the other way in the face of several illegal practices, from poaching dyewood to sacking towns, and when such practices were brought to its attention, it consistently refused to mete out appropriate punishment. England stood by its claim that the buccaneers were entirely unaffiliated with it, which provided the plausible deniability that preserved a veneer of peace with Spain. Spain, for its part, no longer had the economic or military power to vent its frustration, leaving England effectively free to do as it pleased.