Pirates!!! A Brief History
What do you know about pirates? • Did pirates have parrots? • Sure. Monkeys were popular, too! • Did pirates have peg legs and hooks? • Yes, many lost limbs, but few had hooks. • Did pirates “grapple” and swing from boat to boat? • Not really, usually ships would launch the long boats. But it happened. • They usually did not swing from boat to boat; it does not work. • They did not slide down sails with knives. Bartholomew Roberts
Did pirate ships get close together and fire cannons from just feet away? Like in “Pirates of the Caribbean?” • Maybe once, but that would be a really dumb maneuver. • Were there any crazy pirates like the weird, little dude with grenades? • Some may have been little, many were crazy, but they did have grenades!
Did pirates make people walk the plank? • No, there’s only one recorded instance of this, and historians are skeptical about it. • A pirate’s favorite sword: • Cutlass: short but practical (keeps out of ropes) • Daggers were handy, broadswords popular • Rapiers: good for duels • Boarding axes and pikes popular as well
Did they shoot silverware out cannons? • Silverware, probably not. Nails, chains, other bits of shrapnel, sure. • Did they use a lot of guns? • Yes, but guns were very unreliable. They became wet easily and would not work. Most pirates carried several pistols. There were marksmen as well.
Please remember… Pirates are evil thieves, murderers, liars, kidnappers, rapists, terrorists, and torture experts There is no such thing as a “good pirate.” PIRATE MYTHS? (video)
Practical and common plunder: Food and water supplies Cloth for sails and markets Spare parts and pieces for the ship (masts, ropes, lumber, etc.) Slaves (to be sold or used) The treasure: Reales or Pesos: Silver Spanish coins The “eight reales” coin became known as “pieces of eight” Escudos: Gold Spanish coins The “eight escudo” coin became known as “doubloon” Ingot: Gold or silver cast into a bar It’s all about the booty… Treasure recovered by Barry Clifford from “Black Sam” Bellamy’s Whydah
Pirate or Privateer? Privateer:Has a legal commission from a government to attack and seize cargo from enemy vessels or villages Pirate: Illegal criminals who attacked and plundered any vessel or costal village Buccaneer: Boucaner: French term for process of curing strips of meat over a barbeque Buccaneers were thugs, outlaws, and hunters of wild oxen and pig on Hispaniola Eventually left island after food shortages and being pushed out by authorities: took to the seas Term for pirates in Caribbean region Corsair: Pirates in the Mediterranean and European areas Types of Pirate:
Edward Hamlin (crime unknown, date unknown) suffered flogging plus being fettered for 8 days to the deck of the ship Richard Baker (1734) became ill on Europa and became too weak to work on deck. The captain forced him to spend four hours at the helm, then a whipping, and 90 minutes of being tied to the mizzen mast. He died a few days later. “I could wish that Masters of vessels would not use their men with so much severity, as so many of them do, which exposes us to great temptations.” John Archer, 1724, before his execution. “It was such dogs as he that put men on pyrating.” John Phillips, 1722, at the trial of the crew of Bartholomew Roberts, regarding former officers known to starve the men. Captains of merchant and military vessels were cruel and pushed the crews too far! (Info taken from Cordingly, Under the Black Flag)
Pirate Flags • Black = Quarter given (We’ll be “gentle”) • Red = No quarter given (We’ll kill and possibly torture everyone on board) Typical skull and cross bones flown by Edward England Arm and sword flown by Edmund Cook, Thomas Tew, Christopher Moody
More Pirate Flags Henry Avrey’s flags One of Christopher Moody’s flags Edward Low’s Flag
More Pirate Flags Blackbeard’s flag: Devil skeleton toasting while stabbing a heart Calico Jack’s flag Notice the resemblance between this flag and the flag from Pirates of the Caribbean
Even more Pirate Flags! • The Jolly Roger: • Jolie Rouge: Red or bloody flag • Ali Raja: Tamil pirate captain • “Old Roger”: the devil Two of Bartholomew Robert’s flags The two skulls represent two Caribbean island that fought against Roberts
Piratical Democracy?Weird… Pirates were democratic! • They elected captains! • The crew determined the course of action: • Fight, retreat, go to Madagascar, go to New England: zig-zagged. • The captain made sure the ship went smoothly: courses, battle positions, strategy, argument disputes, money, etc.
Compensation for Injuries: • Loss of starboard side arm: 600 pieces of eight • Loss of portside arm: 500 pieces of eight • Loss of starboard leg: 500 pieces of eight • Loss of port leg: 400 pieces of eight • Loss of an eye or finger: 100 pieces of eight
PIRATES RARELY BURIED THEIR TREASURE! Spent their money on drinks and prostitutes. Some hoarded their shares to live the good life, but… Most wasted it! There are three recorded examples of buried treasure: Captain Kidd Captain Stratton Sir Francis Drake Buried Treasure and X-Marks the Spot!
“Black Sam” Bellamy Close to $400 million retrieved (modern value) from the wrecked Whydah Blackbeard Capture more than 20 ships in pirate career After his fall, £2,500 total, including the sale of his sloop, collected Artist conception of “Black Sam” Bellamy A few other big scores
Invented persona of “Blackbeard” to scare people Had 14 wives and 40 kids Buried massive treasures Grew beard and tied it with bright ribbons to aid in persona Burned rope sticking from hat to look fearsome Chased down a British navel ship! Buried treasure at the Isles of Shoals Blackbeard: Truth or Legend? Truth Legend
Blackbeard! • Little is known: Only of his 2 year reign of terror on the high seas • Possibly sailed during Queen Anne’s War • Possibly learned from Pirate Captain Hornigold • Probably took Hornigold’s crew and ships in 1777 after Hornigold took a pardon • Considered an nice guy! … unless you gave him trouble AKA: ---Edward Teach---Edward Thatch--- ---Edward Drummond---Edward Tach--- ---Edward Tash---
Anne Bonny: Left her husband for pirate John Rackham (“Calico Jack”) Had a child with him Mary Read: Raised as a boy, fought in land armies and on ships Joined with Anne and Calico Jack after her ship was captured Both sailed and fought dressed as men William was captured, the rest of the crew wanted to surrender, but Anne and Mary urged them to fight Both found guilty of piracy Both escaped hanging because of pregnancy Mary Read died of fever in prison Anne Bonny’s and her child’s fate are unknown Women pirates
Princes Alwilda (400ad) She didn’t want to marry Prince Alf of Denmark She dressed as a man and stole a boat with some friends When Prince Alf captured her, he also captured her heart! Grace O’Malley 1500ad Cut her hair short for sailing After her husband died, “Granuaille” took control of her family’s fleet “Grany Imallye” eventually arrested Befriended Queen Elizabeth I who let her go Mrs. Cheng (Early 1800’s) Perhaps the most successful pirates ever! Nearly 1,000 ships in her fleet! Harsh and cruel: stiff punishments, no mercy to victims China forced to hire ships from Europe to help stop her Secured a treaty: pirates walk away with plunder but turn in boats and weapons More than 17,000 pirates in her force A few other lady pirates:
Most pirates did not have families Henry Avery had a wife and two kids William Kidd had a wife and two “Kidds” Blackbeard had 14 wives—maybe. Most pirates did not have time or were more interested in “other” women Pirate Families Considered bad luck to have women on board. There were anywhere from 30-200 male pirates on a ship (depending on size).
Pirate Movies The Black Pirate, 1926Captain Blood, 1935Fire over England, 1937The Sea Hawk, 1940The Black Swan, 1942Captain Kidd, 1945Treasure Island, 1950Captain Horatio Hornblower, 1951The Last of the Buccaneers, 1951 The Crimson Pirate, 1952Blackbeard the Pirate, 1952 Errol Flynn as Captain Blood
Against All Flags, 1952Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, 1952Morgan the Pirate, 1961Pirates of Tortuga, 1961The King’s Pirate, 1967Swashbuckler, 1976Nate and Hayes, 1983The Princess Bride, 1987 Magic Island, 1995 Cutthroat Island, 1995Muppet Treasure Island, 1996Pirates of the Caribbean (Trilogy)