(Wikipedia. However, a lot of this is corroborated from a book I've been reading lately, titled Black Flags, Blue Waters, by Eric Jay Dolan).The era of piracy in the Bahamas began in 1696, when the privateer Henry Every brought his ship the Fancy loaded with loot from plundering Indian trade ships into Nassau harbour. Every bribed the governor Nicholas Trott with gold and silver, and with the Fancy itself, still loaded with 50 tons of elephant tusks and 100 barrels of gunpowder. This established Nassau as a base where pirates could operate safely, although various governors regularly made a show of suppressing piracy. Although the governors were still legally in charge, the pirates became increasingly powerful.
The era of true pirate control occurred when a combined Franco-Spanish Fleet attacked Nassau in 1703 and again in 1706; the island was effectively abandoned by many of its settlers and left without any English government presence. Nassau was then taken over by English privateers, who became completely lawless pirates over time. The pirates attacked French and Spanish ships, while the French and Spanish forces burned Nassau several more times. Pirates established themselves in Nassau, and essentially established their own republic with its own governors. By 1713 the War of the Spanish Succession was over, but many British privateers were slow to get the news, or reluctant to accept it, and so slipped into piracy. This led to large numbers of unemployed privateers making their way to New Providence to join the republic and swell its numbers. The republic was dominated by two famous pirates who were bitter rivals – Benjamin Hornigold and Henry Jennings. Hornigold was mentor to pirates such as the famous Edward Teach, known as "Blackbeard", along with Sam Bellamy and Stede Bonnet. Jennings was mentor to Charles Vane, 'Calico' Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read. Despite their rivalries, the pirates formed themselves into the 'Flying Gang' and quickly became infamous for their exploits. The Governor of Bermuda stated that there were over 1000 pirates in Nassau at that time and that they outnumbered the mere hundred of inhabitants in the town. Blackbeard was later voted by the pirates of Nassau to be their Magistrate, to be in command of their republic and enforce law and order as he saw fit.
Pirate Thomas Barrow declared “that he is Governor of Providence and will make it a second Madagascar, and expects 5 or 600 men more from Jamaica sloops to join in the settling of Providence, and to make war on the French and Spaniards, but for the English, they don't intend to meddle with them, unless they are first attack'd by them.” While originally the pirates had avoided attacking British ships, this restraint disappeared over time, and at their height, the pirates could command a small fleet of ships that could take on the frigates of the Royal Navy. The amount of havoc caused by the pirates led to an outcry for their destruction, and finally George I appointed Woodes Rogers as Governor of the Bahamas to bring the piracy to an end. In 1718 Rogers arrived in Nassau with a fleet of seven ships, carrying a pardon for all those who turned themselves in and refrained from further piracy. Among those who accepted this offer was Benjamin Hornigold, and, in a shrewd move, Rogers commissioned Hornigold to hunt down and capture those pirates who refused to surrender and accept the royal pardon. As a former privateer himself, Hornigold was well placed to understand what needed to be done and he pursued his former comrades with zeal. Although pirates such as Charles Vane and Blackbeard evaded capture, Hornigold did take ten pirates prisoner and on the morning of 12 December 1718, nine of them were executed. This act re-established British control and ended the pirates' republic in the Bahamas. Those pirates who had fled successfully continued their piratical activities elsewhere in the Caribbean in what has become known as the Golden Age of Piracy.
So... when you think "Founders of Western Democracy", don't think George Washington or Thomas Jefferson... think Blackbeard.
(Washington and Jefferson were basically pirates anyway- just engaged in legally sanctioned robbery and murder in the form of slavery and ethnic cleansing of indigenous populations).