At the beginning of the 17th century, pirates infested the Caribbean waters, harassing the major European powers, but they were eventually driven from the region. Some pirates took refuge in Madagascar, where they attempted to capture the lucrative cargo carried by vessels on the shipping route of the European East India Companies. At the end of the 18th century, in order to weaken British influence in the Indian Ocean, France hired privateers to attack commercial ships of the British East India Company. This was an alternative to open warfare, and heralded the privateers' era. Denis Piat recounts the history of the pirates and privateers in the Indian Ocean, especially in Mauritius, from the pirates' arrival in the region to the wrecked ships still to be found today in deep water, and provides portraits of the most famous privateers among them.
Denis Piat was born in Mauritius in 1943. He began his career in air transport, travel and tourism in 1963. After launching two companies in this industry on behalf of Mauritian business groups, he was recruited in 1978 as the Director of Kenya Airways in France, where he was in charge of its Paris office until 1998. Piat has been interested in the history of his native island since he was a young boy. During his time in Mauritius, he started a collection of old and rare books on Mauritius. After moving to Paris, he continued to enrich his collection, extending his research to antiquarian lithoprints, etchings and maps. Eager to share his passion, Piat assembled the materials into a book, Mauritius: On the Spice Route 1598-1810, which was published in English in 2010.
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