Employed by the English as a privateer; John Hawkins was considered a pirate and a criminal by the Spanish.
Pirates had workman's comp! Each captain took care of the injured by compensating crewmen for being maimed or losing a limb. And each captain had his own "rates:" loss of right arm, 600 pieces; left arm, 500 pieces; right leg, 500, etc.
The Castillo de San Marcos was built immediately after Captain Robert Searles sacked St. Augustine, Florida in 1668. Sir Francis Drake razed the city 82 years earlier.
"Walking the Plank" is a Hollywood myth. Pirates were more likely to throw men overboard, hang them from the yardarms, or keelhaul them.
Every Pirate Captain established a set of rules called the "Articles." Every member of the crew signed articles of piracy over a boarding axe prior to setting sail - symbolic to the oath the pirate just promised his fellow sailors.