Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Corsair (connected with course, fr. Lat. currere, to run), generally a pirate or sea-robber, and more particularly one of the Algerian pirates whose depredations made them the scourge and terror of the Mediterranean and neighbouring seas down to a comparatively recent date. In the later Middle Ages, and, indeed, far down into modern times, it was a common act of Christian charity to give or bequeath money for the redemption of Christian captives kept in slavery by the Algerian pirates. It was not till 1816 that they received their real deathblow, and they lingered on in various parts of the Mediterranean till a much later period. The name has also been employed to designate a privateer sailing with letters of marque.