Piracy in the Caribbean

The era of piracy in the Caribbean began in the 1500s and phased out in the 1830s after the navies of the nations of Western Europe and North America with colonies in the Caribbean began combating pirates. The period during which pirates were most successful was from the 1660s to 1730s. Piracy flourished in the Caribbean because of the existence of pirate seaports such as Port Royal in Jamaica, Tortuga in Haiti, Nassau in the Bahamas. Piracy in the Caribbean was part of a larger historical phenomenon of piracy, as it existed close to major trade and exploration routes in nearly all the five oceans. Pirates were former sailors experienced in naval warfare. Beginning in the 16th century, pirate captains recruited seamen to loot European merchant ships the Spanish treasure fleets sailing from the Caribbean to Europe; the following quote by an 18th-century Welsh captain shows the motivations for piracy: In an honest Service, there is thin Commons, low Wages, hard Labour. No, a merry Life and a short one shall be my Motto.—Pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts Piracy was sometimes given legal status by the colonial powers France under King Francis I, in the hope of weakening Spain and Portugal's mare clausum trade monopolies in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

This sanctioned piracy was known as privateering. From 1520 to 1560, French privateers were alone in their fight against the Crown of Spain and the vast commerce of the Spanish Empire in the New World, but were joined by the English and Dutch; the Caribbean had become a center of European trade and colonization after Columbus' discovery of the New World for Spain in 1492. In the 1493 Treaty of Tordesillas the non-European world had been divided between the Spanish and the Portuguese along a north–south line 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands; this gave Spain control of the Americas, a position the Spaniards reiterated with an unenforceable papal bull. On the Spanish Main, the key early settlements were Cartagena in present-day Colombia, Porto Bello and Panama City on the Isthmus of Panama, Santiago on the southeastern coast of Cuba, Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola. In the 16th century, the Spanish were mining large quantities of silver from the mines of Zacatecas in New Spain and Potosí in Bolivia.

The huge Spanish silver shipments from the New World to the Old attracted pirates and French privateers like François Leclerc or Jean Fleury, both in the Caribbean and across the Atlantic, all along the route from the Caribbean to Seville. To combat this constant danger, in the 1560s the Spanish adopted a convoy system. A treasure fleet or flota would sail annually from Seville in Spain, carrying passengers and European manufactured goods to the Spanish colonies of the New World; this cargo, though profitable, was just a form of ballast for the fleet as its true purpose was to transport the year's worth of silver to Europe. The first stage in the journey was the transport of all that silver from the mines in Bolivia and New Spain in a mule convoy called the Silver Train to a major Spanish port on the Isthmus of Panama or Veracruz in New Spain; the flota would meet up with the Silver Train, offload its cargo of manufactured goods to waiting colonial merchants and load its holds with the precious cargo of gold and silver, in bullion or coin form.

This made the returning Spanish treasure fleet a tempting target, although pirates were more to shadow the fleet to attack stragglers than to engage the well-armed main vessels. The classic route for the treasure fleet in the Caribbean was through the Lesser Antilles to the ports along the Spanish Main on the coast of Central America and New Spain northwards into the Yucatán Channel to catch the westerly winds back to Europe. By the 1560s, the Dutch United Provinces of the Netherlands and England, both Protestant states, were defiantly opposed to Catholic Spain, the greatest power of Christendom in the 16th century, it was the French who had established the first non-Spanish settlement in the Caribbean when they had founded Fort Caroline near what is now Jacksonville, Florida in 1564, although the settlement was soon wiped out by a Spanish attack from the larger colony of Saint Augustine. As the Treaty of Tordesillas had proven unenforceable, a new concept of "lines of amity", with the northern bound being the Tropic of Cancer and the eastern bound the Prime Meridian passing through the Canary Islands, is said to have been verbally agreed upon by French and Spanish negotiators of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis.

South and west of these lines no protection could be offered to non-Spanish ships, "no peace beyond the line." English and French pirates and settlers moved into this region in times of nominal peace with the Spanish. The Spanish, despite being the most powerful state in Christendom at the time, could not afford a sufficient military presence to control such a vast area of ocean or enforce their exclusionary, mercantilist trading laws; these laws allowed only Spanish merchants to trade with the colonists of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. This arrangement provoked constant smuggling against the Spanish trading laws and new attempts at Caribbean colonization in peacetime by England and the Netherlands. Whenever a war was declared in Europe between the Great Powers the result

Olivia Spencer Bower Award

The Olivia Spencer Bower Award is a residency opportunity for New Zealand artists. It is named after the 20th-century New Zealand painter Olivia Spencer Bower; the Olivia Spencer Bower Award was established in 1987. Art critic John Daly-Peoples notes that it was Spencer Bower's intention to "provide talented artists an opportunity to work for one year, free to pursue their own direction without the need to seek outside employment."The award was intended to support women artists only. Final details for the charitable foundation were only finalised five days before the artist died in early July 1982. Bower left all her art works to the foundation, these have been realised by the trustees to form the capital which funds the award; the award is directed at emerging painters and sculptors and bypasses well-known and established practitioners who may have received recognition. While the initial instigation for the foundation was perceived inequity between male and female artists the award is open to both men and women artists.

Selection is made by a committee. Art critic Warren Feeney writes of the award: Set up by a practising artist as an award for other practising artists its success can be measured in the number of recipients who continue to maintain a substantial presence in the arts. Séraphine Pick, Jim Speers and Kristy Gorman are only three of a long list. Indeed, rather than her legacy as a painter, the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation Award has become the vehicle by which the artist is now best-known; the residency is based in Christchurch. The recipient receives a stipend for the year — around $NZ30,000 — and a studio in Christchurch for the year of the residency. Up until 2011, this studio was within the complex of the Christchurch Arts Centre, but since the arts centre was damaged in the February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake other studio space has been found around the city

Yonagusuku Chōki

Yonagusuku Wōji Chōki known by Nakazato Aji Chōki and his Chinese style name Shō Kōkun and Shō Injō, was a prince of Ryukyu Kingdom. He was born to a royal family called Yonagusuku Udun, he was an adopted son of Namihira Chōbu. Chōki became the seventh head of Yonagusuku Udun. Matthew C. Perry's fleet came to Ryukyu in 1854, demanded an audience with King Shō Tai at Shuri Castle. Chōki was sent to meet him, signed Ryukyu–US Treaty of Amity with him. Makishi Chōchū, Onga Chōkō, Oroku Ryōchū and Prince Tamagawa Chōtatsu were involved in illegal matter in 1859, Chōki was appointed as judge together with Prince Ie Chōchoku, Mabuni Kenyu, Uza Chōshin to interrogate them; this incident was known as Makishi Onga Incident. Chōki served as sessei from 1861 to 1872