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A General History of the Pyrates From their first rise and settlement in the island of Providence, to the present Time By Daniel Defoe and Captain Charles Johnson A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates is a 1724 book published in Britain containing biographies of contemporary pirates, which was influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates. Its author uses the name Captain Charles Johnson, generally considered a pseudonym for one of London's writer-publishers. The prime source for the biographies of many well known pirates, the book gives an almost mythical status to the more colourful characters, and it is likely that the author used considerable licence in his accounts of pirate conversations. First appearing in Charles Rivington's shop in London, the book sold so well that by 1726 an enlarged fourth edition had appeared. It pandered to the British public's taste for the exotic; revelling in graphic stories on the high seas. English naval historian David Cordingly writes: it has been said, and there seems no reason to question this, that Captain Johnson created the modern conception of pirates.