Ten More Facts You Never Knew about Pirates

JOLLY ROGER 8X10 FINAL What a day

Last time we visited, ye took a little test to see how much ye really knew about us buccaneers. Did ye know enough to escape the gangplank or was ye swimming with the sharks. Think you’ll survive a second broadside from me cannons? Good luck, mates. Ten right answers and ye merit sailing with Blackbeard himself. Three wrong answers and anyone will know yer a landlubber fer sure and no mariner of the high seas.

  1. Piracy in the Caribbean ended when England ruthlessly hunted down pirates like Blackbeard and Captain Kidd. False. On September 05, 1717, the king actually offered a pardon for most pirates if they agreed to stop their nasty ways. Knowing the handwriting was on the wall, 300 pirates In Providence agreed, thus making it easier to hunt down those that remained.
  1. Pirates preferred tall ships with three masts and lots and lots of cannons. False. The overwhelming number of pirate ships weren’t close to the majestic ships portrayed in movies. Many pirates opted for smaller, lighter vessels that could move swiftly when chasing or being chased. Because large ships could not navigate shallow channels needed to dodge and hide, pirates preferred boats with shallow drafts.
  1. Except for a few isolated incidents in history, pirates were not a problem for mariners until the Golden Age of Piracy. False. A century before, Cheng I Sao ruled the South China Seas for years with as many as 300 ships. The Mediterranean Seas were infested with Corsairs for years, attacking ships and villages for booty and slaves. Both St. Patrick and Julius Caesar were kidnapped by pirates. Caesar told his captors he would be back to crucify them. He did just that.
  1. Pirates used the Jolly Roger to create a esprit de corps among themselves. False. Pirates used the Jolly Roger with trickery and intimidation, flying the same flag as a ship they targeted so as not to arouse suspicion. Then when they were on top of their prey, they raised the skull and crossbones, striking terror into the hearts of everyone on board.
  1. The only worthwhile booty for any self respecting pirate was gold or silver. False. While no one ever turned down these treasures, food, water, rum- especially rum, clothing, medicine, and other supplies were all valued.

  1. Being the bloodthirsty marauders they were, the first thing pirates did was blow holes in the other ship to conquer them. False. If possible, pirates liked to take a ship without creating a lot of damage. That way, the ship itself became treasure. Pirates often traded up this way, swapping their own ship for a better one.
  1. Pirates rarely went on land except to spend their money, party with wenches, and get supplies. False. Like the Corsairs, pirates often attacked villages seeking wealth and supplies, and often taking hostages for ransom or men needed to crew their ship.
  1. Rooms aboard a pirate ship were small, often housing as many as five and six pirates. False. Other than the captain and an officer or two, no one had their own room. Hammocks were strung out on the deck below where the cannons were housed. When the battle cry was sounded, the hammocks were taken down and sand spread on the floor to soak up the blood that would inevitably be shed.
  1. To the last man, crews of pirate ships were manned with ruthless cutthroats who willingly swore their allegiance to their captain and each other. False. When pirates captured a vessel, if they were short-handed, they didn’t think twice about forcing men to join them. Men who had special skills like navigating, doctoring, or carpentry were particularly desired. Captain John Phillips had so many non-pirates on board that one night seven of them successfully mutinied and brought the ship to Boston where the pirates were then tried and hanged.

10.Women were banned from serving on pirate ships though Anne Bonny and Mary Read served with Jack Rackham by concealing their sex. False. In early 19th century China, Cheng I Sao was a feared female pirate whose control extended throughout the South China Sea. Her fleets included a crew of over 50,000 men. Granuaile, a female pirate from 16th century Ireland, became a thorn in Queen Elizabeth’s side, attacking English ships in Galway Bay. In a truce, she agreed to attack Spanish ships instead.

How did you do, mate? Survive the thunder of me ten broadsides? Then hoist that Jolly Roger ye harbor in yer pirate heart! And don’t forget. Life is short and tomorrow is promised to no one. What are you going to do Today to make one of yer pirate dreams come true?

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