The unity of the crowns of Aragon and Castile and the Reconquest brought about an unprecedented change in the history of Spain. On the one hand, with the capture of Granada, the military frontier in the south of the Iberian Peninsula disappeared. On the other hand, after 1492 a vast land beyond the Atlantic was found that would multiply the surface of a monarchy that would become the largest in Europe. The future Spain was preparing to set sail.
Francis I of France (1515-1547), driven by envy and a lust for wealth, launched a series of attacks against the Spanish ships returning from the newly discovered lands. As the Spaniards moved deeper into the Americas and extended the area of their frontiers in the name of their crown, the more difficult it became to control and stabilize it.
Emperor Charles V and subsequent kings could not tolerate that the treasures that came from those distant lands ended up in the hands of their neighbor on the other side of the Pyrenees. If the navies of the Spanish Empire were "clearly insufficient" to defend it in all its extension, "it was necessary to resort to arming privateers". These would begin to act both at sea and on land, with the purpose of protecting the interests of the Spanish monarch.
The ordinance of 1621
Although privateers had been operating in the vast seas for more than a decade, it was not until 1621 that the practice of privateering was used as an "instrument of maritime warfare in the Hispanic monarchy".
Under the reign of Philip IV, the Spanish Crown felt authorized to employ the same strategy as its enemies. Undoubtedly, the aim was to encourage privateering as much as possible as a means of defense of the enormous overseas empire, a cheaper means for the state than regular navies.
- History in your hands - Silver coin minted between 1622 and 1665 under the reign of Philip IV, responsible for the legalization of piracy in 1621. Specification: 22.5mm diameter and 2.1g weight. Hold and study the genuine souvenirs of the Pirates.