Value of goods and knowledge
For thousands of years, insightful knowledge and precious items have traveled far and wide, across the world's oceans and waterways to be exchanged between distant civilizations. To reach the destination, a number of factors contribute to success or failure of missions. Prominent, skillful navigators and captains manage to build reputations that transcend throughout the ages for their efforts; the course of history forever changed.
Many explorers find thrill in understanding how powerful new discoveries are, and they work equally as diligent to protect harbored secrets. Considering value of goods and knowledge, savvy buccaneers often found intelligent ways to catch competition by surprise covertly, or simply throw them off course with distractive measures. What better way to protect interests as a pirate?
Developing and applying intelligent tactics to routine missions hundreds of years ago enabled the uprising of a pirate republic and a force not to be reckoned with around the world. The same tactics forced privateer and Navy fleets to find methods of outsmarting the outlaws, and pirates perpetuated the cycle by outwitting those opposing forces time and time again. Eventually, interminable conflict inspired an alternative, and most effective way of protecting knowledge from enemies. By hiding information using cryptic missives and treasure maps, pirates drastically improved chances of keeping information from the authorities, privateers, or scalawags playing both sides, as in famous mystery treasure legends like:
Hiding knowledge also became leverage and a way out for those who found themselves at mercy to the crown. A map indicating where a stockpile of gold and silver resides may buy a pirate out of the brig, or prevent a meeting with the gallows. At the same time, treasure maps enabled mariners to ditch plunder for later return, or to pass off the location to those in allegiance if the need arise. Old treasure maps may be difficult to decipher and lead to dead ends as they continuously baffle anyone trying to follow them. Perhaps in this respect, some are maps of maps, or lack a type of key-stone to reveal a secret message. If finding a lost treasure is increasingly difficult with a map in hand, providing at least some sort of direction, just imagine the complexity of discovering buried plunder only known to exist by legend.