Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. According to Holiday Insights, this light-hearted event was started by two friends: John Baur and Mark Summers. "While playing racquetball, they began to talk to each other in Pirate-speak. After leaving the court, they decided that there was a need to create this day. After much thought, Mark Summers selected September 19th as the date. This was his wife's birthday."
Unfortunately real pirates still operate today off the coast of Africa. Fox News reported, "Pirates took in an estimated $160 million in ransoms last year, and one study predicts the number will climb to $400 million by 2015, as the high seas thieves continue their brazen reign on the Indian Ocean."
During the 13th and 14th centuries pirates claiming to be Christians operated from Catalonia, Spain, according to Wikipedia. The Independent reported that in 1927 Luis Ulloa Cisneros became the first historian to advance the theory that Christopher Columbus was a Catalan pirate because of Columbus' writings in the Catalan language or a related dialect.
Besides Catholics in Spain, Muslims in Northern Africa also joined in piracy. The Barbary pirates operated a thriving slave trade based on piracy during the 16th to 19th century. According to Wikipedia, the Barbary pirates captured 800,000 to 1.25 million people by capturing ships and raiding coastal towns throughout Europe.