Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Matthew Gerber

Second Advisor

Fred Anderson

Third Advisor

Peter Hunt


This paper asks if privateering and piracy were the source of the silver bullion coined at the English mint between 1558-1601. Production at the English mint boomed after the accession of Elizabeth I and continued throughout her reign. This expansion in the Elizabethan money supply had far-reaching consequences for the Elizabethan economy as well as the regime. Many contemporaries and many historians since have credited the Elizabethan privateers for supplying the English mint with Spanish plunder. In fact, the true picture seems more complicated, as production boomed for twenty years before a plausible case can be made for privateering driving mint production.