Piracy came into its full force after the end of the War of Spanish Succession (1701 - 1713), as at the and of the war thousand of sailors were relieved of military duty and had no line of work to return to. This war was also known as Queen Anne's War.
Billy Bones is a fictional character.
Long John Silver is also a fictional character.
"According to Stevenson's letters, the idea for the character of Long John Silver was inspired by his real-life friend William Henley." (1)
"In a letter to Henley after the publication of Treasure Island Stevenson wrote: "I will now make a confession. It was the sight of your maimed strength and masterfulness that begot Long John Silver...the idea of the maimed man, ruling and dreaded by the sound [voice alone], was entirely taken from you". (1)
Jim Hawkins is also a fictional character; he represents the thousands of poor boys who chose the sea and the Royal Navy during the 18th Century. Jim's character provides a glimpse of the life and culture from which the majority of the Georgian Navy was made up of; most were orphans with little or no prospects. Others were just adventurous.
"Treasure Island is not a historical novel, but a romantic adventure story. The location of the island is never given, although it is probably somewhere off the South American coast. Stevenson also does not specify the year in which the events of the story take place, but Jim Hawkins, a grown man when he narrates the book, says at the beginning that he is writing "in the year of grace 17--". It is likely that Stevenson was imagining the first half of the 18th century when he wrote Treasure Island, because this era was the golden age of British piracy. Thousands of pirate crews, including such colorful and notorious figures as Captain Kidd and Blackbeard, roamed the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Indian Oceans in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Piracy was a major threat to a nation like Great Britain, whose political and economic power was built on its shipping industry. It was not until the 1720's and 30's that the British navy was large and powerful enough to reduce significantly the number of pirates preying on merchant vessels." (2)