When the nations of Latin America fought for their independence in the early 19th century, they commissioned privateers stationed in the United States to attack Spanish skipping. In Privateers of the Americas: Spanish American Privateering from the United States in the Early Republic
(University of Georgia Press, 2015), David Head
examines the activities of these privateers within the context of the contemporary Atlantic world. As Head explains, these privateers, most of whom were American citizens, existed in a complex environment of international politics, diplomacy, and economic activity. Operating in violation of U.S. law, they evaded the authorities in a variety of ways, from clandestine operations in the Louisiana bayous to deceptive claims to port authorities in Baltimore. While U.S. officials were often frustrated in their efforts to enforce the law, Head finds that civil claims were often pursued by the attacked merchants with greater success. It was only with the end of the wars, though, that the activities of these privateers came to an end, leaving them to embark upon lives often changed by their dramatic experiences.