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Favorite Real Life Pirates

Person list created by kathy Avatar


Captain Henry Morgan (1635-1688) is one of the most famous pirates who terrorized Spain’s Caribbean colonies in the late 1600s.

Inconspicuously sanctioned by England, Morgan became the head of the Jamaican fleet and successfully undermined Spanish rule, hampering normalcy in the West Indies. He may have pillaged upwards of four hundred ships throughout his piracy career.

His greatest achievement was capturing the very wealthy Panama City with thirty ships and 1,200 men, acquiring his largest plunder yet.

It was due to his raid on Panama City that he was arrested and brought back to England, but because battle resumed between England and Spain, King Charles II knighted Morgan and released him as deputy governor of Jamaica. There, Sir Henry Morgan lived as a very well respected planter until his death.

Ching Shih (1775–1844), also known as Jihng Sih ("widow of Zheng"), was a prominent pirate in Qing dynasty China who terrorized the South China Sea in the early 19th century.

She commanded over 300 junks manned by 20,000-40,000 pirates. Another estimate has Ching's fleet at 1,800 and crew at about 80,000 men, women and even children.

She challenged the empires of the time, such as the British, Portuguese and the Qing dynasty.

Undefeated, she would become one of China and Asia's strongest pirates and one of world history's most powerful pirates. She was also one of the few pirate captains to retire from piracy.

Jihng Sih is featured in numerous books, novels, video games and films.

Captain William Kidd (1645-1701) was a Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean.

William Kidd was either one of the most notorious pirates in the history of the world, or one of its most unjustly vilified and prosecuted privateers, in an age typified by the rationalisations of empire.

Despite the legends and fiction surrounding this character, his actual career was punctuated by only a handful of skirmishes, followed by a desperate quest to clear his name.

Bartholomew Roberts (1682–1722) was a Welsh pirate who raided ships off the Americas and West Africa between 1719 and 1722.

He was the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, as measured by vessels captured, capturing over 470 ships in his career.

He is also known as Black Bart (Welsh: Barti Ddu) but this name was never used in his lifetime.

During a battle with the naval ship HMS Swallow commanded by Captain Chaloner Ogle, Captain Roberts was killed by a grapeshot, which struck him in the throat while he stood on the deck of his ship Royal Fortune.

Before his body could be captured by Ogle, Roberts' wish to be buried at sea was fulfilled by his crew, who weighed his body down and threw it overboard after wrapping it in his ship's sail. It was never found.

Roberts' death shocked the pirate world, as well as the Royal Navy. The local merchants and civilians had thought him invincible and some considered him a hero.

Jean Lafitte (1780–1823) was a French-American pirate and privateer in the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century.

By 1805, he operated a warehouse in New Orleans to help disperse the goods smuggled by his brother Pierre Lafitte.

After the United States government passed the Embargo Act of 1807, the Lafittes moved their operations to an island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. By 1810, their new port was very successful; the Lafittes pursued a successful smuggling operation and also started to engage in piracy.

Though Lafitte warned the other Baratarians of a possible military attack on their base of operations, an American naval force successfully invaded in September of 1814 and captured most of Lafitte's fleet.

Later, in return for a legal pardon for the smugglers, Lafitte and his comrades helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British in early 1815.

The Lafittes became spies for the Spanish during the Mexican War of Independence and moved to Galveston Island, Texas, where they developed a pirate colony called Campeche.

Lafitte continued attacking merchant ships as a pirate around Central American ports until he died circa 1823, trying to capture Spanish vessels.

Speculation about his life and death continues among historians.

John Rackham (1682–1720), commonly known as Calico Jack, was an English pirate captain operating in the Bahamas and in Cuba during the early 18th century.

His nickname derived from the calico clothing he wore, while Jack is a diminutive of "John."

Active towards the end (1718–20) of the "golden age of piracy" (1650–1730) Rackham is most remembered for two things: the design of his Jolly Roger flag - a skull with crossed swords - which contributed to the popularization of the design and for having two female crew members: Mary Read and Rackham's lover Anne Bonny.

After deposing Charles Vane from his captaincy, Rackham cruised the Leeward Islands, Jamaica Channel and Windward Passage. He accepted a pardon some time in 1719 and moved to New Providence, where he met Anne Bonny, who at the time was married to James Bonny.

When Rackham returned to piracy in 1720 by stealing a British sloop, Bonny joined him. Their new crew included Mary Read. After a short run he was captured by pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet in 1720 before being hanged in November of the same year in Port Royal, Jamaica.

Charlotte de Berry (born 1636, England) was a female pirate captain.

In her mid to late teens, she fell in love with a sailor and, against her parents' will, married him. Disguised as a man, she followed him on board his ship and fought alongside him.

Her true identity was discovered by an officer who kept this knowledge to himself, wanting de Berry. He assigned her husband to the most dangerous jobs, which he survived thanks to his wife's help.

The officer finally accused Charlotte's husband of mutiny, of which he was found guilty based on an officer's word against that of a common sailor. He was punished and killed by flogging. The officer then made advances towards Charlotte, which she refused. The next time they were in port she killed the officer and snuck away, dressing again as a woman and working on the docks.

While de Berry worked on the docks, a captain of a merchant ship saw her and kidnapped her. He forced de Berry to marry him and took her away on his trip to Africa.

To escape her new husband who was a brutal rapist and tyrant, de Berry gained the respect of the crew and persuaded them to mutiny. In revenge, she decapitated her husband and became captain of the ship.

After years of pirating, she fell in love with a Spaniard, Armelio Gonzalez. However, they were shipwrecked and, after days of hunger, they turned to cannibalism.

The survivors of her crew were rescued by a Dutch ship and, when that ship was attacked by pirates, they bravely defended their rescuers. While the others celebrated victory, Charlotte jumped overboard in order to join her dead husband. No one knows if she survived.

Since 1836, de Berry's story has appeared in print in a number of books.

Jean-David Nau (1635–1668), better known as François l'Olonnais, was a French pirate, active in the Caribbean during the 1660s.

L’Olonnais was one of many buccaneers — a cross between state-sponsored privateers and outright outlaws — who plied the Caribbean Sea in the mid to late 1600s.

L’Olonnais is believed to have begun raiding Spanish ships and coastal settlements — and cultivating a reputation for excessive cruelty — soon after arriving in the Caribbean as an indentured servant.

Seventeenth-century pirate historian Alexander Exquemelin wrote that L’Olonnais would hack his victims to pieces bit by bit or squeeze a cord around their necks until their eyes popped out.

Suspecting he had been betrayed, L’Olonnais supposedly once even cut out a man’s heart and took a bite.

Karma came back to haunt him in 1668, however, when, according to Exquemelin, he was captured and eaten by cannibals.

Jacquotte Delahaye was a French pirate, or buccaneer, active in the Caribbean sea in the mid-17th century.

Jacquotte Delahaye reportedly came from present day Haiti and was the daughter of a French father and a Haitian mother. Her mother is said to have died in childbirth. Her brother suffered from mild retardation and was left in her care after her father's death.

According to legend and tradition, she became a pirate after the murder of her father.

To escape her pursuers, she faked her own death and took on a male alias, living as a man for many years. Upon her return, she became known as "back from the dead red" because of her striking red hair.

She led a gang of hundreds of pirates and, with their help, took over a small Caribbean island in the year of 1656, which was called a "freeboter republic". Several years later, she died in a shootout while defending it.

Jacquotte Delahaye is the subject of many legendary stories.

A list of my favorite real life pirates.

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My Historical Figures Lists (5 lists)
list by kathy
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