In the early eighteenth century a number of the great pirate captains, including Edward "Blackbeard" Teach and "Black Sam" Bellamy, joined forces. This infamous "Flying Gang" was more than simply a thieving band of brothers. Many of its members had come to piracy as a revolt against conditions in the merchant fleet and in the cities and plantations in the Old and New Worlds.
Inspired by notions of self-government, they established a crude but distinctive form of democracy in the Bahamas, carving out their own zone of freedom in which indentured servants were released and leaders chosen or deposed by a vote.
They were ultimately overcome by their arch-nemesis, Captain Woodes Rogers—a merchant fleet owner and former privateer—and the brief though glorious moment of the Republic of Pirates came to an end.