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The terms buried treasure, peg leg, and Jolly Roger are associated with the legends of pirates. Through various novels, movies, and comic strips, these terms have gained popularity. Long used as frightening, fictional characters, pirates became part of the storytelling mystique. The images of pirates, though they seem fictional, are actually based on true stories that sailors recounted about their journeys. In the early years of the sixteenth century, merchant ships delivered goods via ocean trade routes. Piracy originated when certain countries attempted to gain control of these routes by sending out pirate ships. The ships were inhabited by buccaneers, hunters named for the French word for barbeque, boucan; by corsairs, hunters found in the Mediterranean and Dominican Republic; or by the most dangerous of the three, privateers, who destroyed the merchant vessels of other nations to gain riches for their country. The captain of a pirate ship is usually depicted in movies as cruel and overbearing. In some cases, this may have been true. Usually, though, the captain was chosen by his crew because of his ability to win prizes and riches, and because he had the courage and daring needed to take over other ships. When a crew no longer supported its captain, he was simply thrown overboard, or marooned on a deserted island. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, a pirate ship's flag was known to evoke fear and terror in the hearts of any sailors in its view. Each pirate captain had a differently designed pirate flag, or Jolly Roger. The Jolly Roger, either black and white, or red, bore pictures meant to scare sailors, like the classic skull and crossbones design. The origin of the Jolly Roger's name is unclear, but it may have evolved from a nickname for the devil, Old Roger. Another possibility is that the name originates from the French words for pretty and red, jolie rouge. Sight of the black and white flag warned sailors of an impending attack. Many ships would surrender at the mere sight of it. An even more terrifying sight, though, was the red flag, which meant that sailors would not be given the option to surrender prior to the attack, but were instead forced to fight to the death. Many researchers believe these pirate tales represent scare tactics meant to encourage caution among sailors. For example, one such tale explained that a black flag was raised to warn sailors that a plague or illness was on board. Regardless, during the last century, by increasing naval patrolling and by labeling piracy an international offense, the prevalence of piracy has been greatly minimized. Hence, we will probably never discover the truth behind these pirate legends. Here is the passage
b is the correct answer