Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Corsair
(913 words)

1. Concept

Like privateering, corsair activity was closely related to maritime piracy sponsored by states or rulers (Privateer). The term derives from the Italian corsa (“raid”, from the Latin cursus), and has nothing to do with the island of Corsica. Corsair activity was mainly focused in the western half of the Mediterranean, so that the term entered not only Italian (corsaro) but also the other languages of that region (French corsaire; Spanish corsario; Portuguese corsário).

Cite this page
Bohn, Robert, “Corsair”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 26 August 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_022679>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206



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