Before the pirate tours came along, the legacy of pirates in the Lowcountry had been reduced to caricatures on mini-golf courses and restaurant menus. But were there ever real pirates in the Lowcountry?
The area is full of vibrant lore, the most well-known of which is the legend of Gorez Goz. A bloodthirsty Spanish plunderer, Goz chased a local Indian maiden into a tree but got stuck, with his beard hopelessly ensnared in the tree branches. After he died, his grey beard continued to grow and spread, creating what we now call Spanish Moss.
History points to some real-world tales of piracy too. But, with traditional Lowcountry hospitality, the pirates were embraced at first, according to Beaufort County Public Library documents. For a quarter century after Charleston was founded in 1690, the city mingled eagerly with its pirate visitors, allowing them to booze and spend freely while at port as locals purchased stolen goods from the boats at low prices. Charlestonians saw the trade as good for the economy, but the royal government eventually began a crackdown.