Ahoy matey! Have ye ever wondered just how many pieces of eight a pirate might fork over for a bushel of corn? As a scurvy sea dog looking to provision yer ship, knowing the going rates for goods at various ports is key.
So let’s weigh anchor and plot a course to unravel the mysterious economics of pirate grocery shopping!
If ye’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: In the 1700s, corn cost around 1-2 shillings per bushel. With 8 Spanish reales in one peso and 6-8 pesos equal to one pound, a pirate would pay 1-2 reales per bushel of corn.
In this here article, we’ll explore corn prices throughout history, convert between those old currencies pirates used, and get to the bottom of how much loot a pirate would part with for this tasty staple crop.
We’ll hoist the mainsail and take a wide berth around this topic, so prepare to learn all there is to know about pirate corn purchasing!
Corn Prices Throughout History
Corn Prices in the American Colonies
Corn, or maize as it was called by the Indigenous peoples, was a staple crop in the American colonies. Corn provided food, feed for livestock, and many additional uses. The Native Americans taught the colonists how to grow this new world crop which was not known in Europe at the time.
In the early colonial days, corn sold for about 2 to 3 shillings per bushel according to records. That would equate to about $3 to $4 in today’s money. Surprisingly cheap! As land was cleared and more acres were planted, corn yields increased dramatically by the late 1700s.
This abundance led to even lower prices over time.
Corn Prices in Pirate Heyday
During the Golden Age of Piracy from 1690 to 1730, corn prices fluctuated but remained low. Shipping records from port cities like Charleston and Boston show corn selling for between 1-2 shillings per bushel.
For pirates pillaging ships and raiding coastal settlements during this time, corn would have been an inexpensive food source to stock up on.
One interesting historical note – In 1730 South Carolina Colony temporarily prohibited corn exports due to poor harvests that year. A pirate during that time may have had trouble finding corn or paid a higher price!
Modern Corn Prices for Comparison
Today, corn prices are much higher although yields per acre are exponentially greater. Technology, improved farming methods, and government subsidies have shaped the modern corn market.
As of September 2022, the average price for a bushel of corn in the United States was $6.97. Adjusted for inflation, that’s still more than double the colonial-era range of $3-4 per bushel! Here are some other current corn prices for comparison:
- Ethanol corn: $6.43/bushel
- Feed corn: $6.54/bushel
- Organic corn: $13.99/bushel
While corn is certainly more expensive today, it still provides an affordable source of food, feed, and fuel. A pirate time traveling to 2022 might be shocked at the price tag, but there’s no doubting corn’s enduring value!
Pirate Currency and Exchange Rates
When it comes to pirate currency, the most commonly known form is the legendary “Pieces of Eight.” These silver coins were widely used by pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The term “Pieces of Eight” refers to the Spanish silver dollar, also known as the Spanish real. These coins were minted in Spain and its colonies, and they became the preferred currency for pirates due to their consistent silver content and wide acceptance.
Pieces of Eight and Spanish Reales
The Spanish real had a standard weight of 27.07 grams and a fineness of 93.5%. It was divided into eight smaller units, hence the name “Pieces of Eight.” Pirates valued these coins for their durability and ease of use in trade.
The exchange rate between Pieces of Eight and other currencies varied depending on the location and prevailing economic conditions. While it is challenging to determine precise exchange rates, historical records suggest that one Piece of Eight was roughly equivalent to one US dollar in today’s terms.
Pounds Sterling Exchange Rates
Another important currency for pirates was the British pound sterling. The British Empire had a significant presence in the Caribbean during the pirate era, and many pirates targeted British ships for their valuable cargo.
The exchange rate between Pieces of Eight and pounds sterling fluctuated depending on various factors, such as supply and demand, trade routes, and political events. It is estimated that during the Golden Age of Piracy, one British pound was equivalent to about four or five Pieces of Eight.
Purchasing Power Considerations
When discussing pirate currency and exchange rates, it is essential to consider purchasing power. While the exchange rates mentioned provide a rough idea of the value of pirate currency, it is crucial to understand that the purchasing power of these currencies was significantly different from what it is today.
The cost of goods and services during the pirate era was vastly different, making direct comparisons challenging.
Nevertheless, understanding pirate currency and exchange rates provides valuable insights into the economic aspects of piracy. By examining historical records and accounts, historians can gain a better understanding of pirate economies and the impact of piracy on global trade.
Putting it All Together: Pirate Corn Purchasing
Once a pirate decides to purchase corn, they face a series of challenges and considerations. From converting prices to haggling for deals, there are many factors to take into account before a pirate can acquire their desired corn supply.
In this section, we will explore how these elements come together in the pirate corn purchasing process.
Converting Corn Prices to Reales
One of the first steps in the pirate corn purchasing journey is converting the prices of corn into the currency they use, which is typically reales. Pirates often rely on their mathematical skills and knowledge of exchange rates to determine the cost of corn in their preferred currency.
Websites like www.currencyexchange.com can provide real-time exchange rates, making it easier for pirates to calculate the cost of corn accurately.
Haggling for Deals at Port
Once pirates have a clear understanding of the corn prices in their currency, they can head to the nearest port to haggle for the best deals. Pirates are known for their negotiation skills and are not afraid to barter with corn suppliers to secure a favorable price.
They often use charm, wit, and sometimes even a bit of intimidation to get the price they want. It’s a game of wits and strategy as pirates try to outsmart the sellers and secure the best deal for their corn.
Bulk Pricing Considerations
When purchasing corn, pirates often have to consider buying in bulk to meet their crew’s needs. Buying in large quantities can lead to significant cost savings, but it also requires careful planning. Pirates need to assess their storage capabilities and calculate how much corn their crew will consume during their voyages.
By buying in bulk, pirates can ensure a steady supply of corn while potentially saving money in the long run.
After weighing corn prices across the centuries, doing conversions between scurvy pirate money, and accounting for crafty negotiating tactics, we can conclude that a pirate would likely have paid 1-2 reales for a bushel of corn.
Though modern corn prices have shot up astronomically, back in the golden age of piracy, corn was a cheap staple for stocking up a ship’s galley. While prices varied across ports, knowing a general range for provisions helped pirates budget their plundered loot.
So next time you’re provisioning for a maritime adventure, remember this deep dive into pirate corn purchasing! Weigh anchor and set sail on the high seas with a lively understanding of pirate grocery economics.