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Facts

  • Blackbeard was the most feared pirate of all time.
  • After Blackbeard was killed, his body had been shot five times and cut about twenty times.
  • Grace O’Malley refused to bow to Queen Elizabeth when she met her, because she considered himself a queen.
  • While living in New York, Captain Kidd helped to build Trinity Church. He loaned equipment from his ship which was used to lift the heavy stones into place.
  • Henry Morgan played a significant role in Jamaican politics from 1675-1688.
  • Samuel Bellamy was the wealthiest pirate in recorded history.
  • Peter Easton had a fleet of 40 ships and a crew of over 5,000.
  • Captain Henry Avery and his crew once made off with a haul of money, jewels, gold, silver, and ivory that would be worth more than $200 million today.
  • The black flag that pirates flew was called a Jolly Roger, no matter what the actual design.
  • Pirates DID wear eye patches, but not because they lost an eye. Instead, it helped them adjust to the low light levels below decks, when they would switch the eye patch to the other side.
  • Grog was just rum that was watered down to make it last longer and to keep the pirates from getting drunk as quickly. Nowadays, it often has lemon juice and sugar added.
  • As far back as 1353 B.C., the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten complained of pirates who had raided his coastal cities and ports.
  • Pirate captains were elected.
  • Pirates were often treated better than sailors on merchant vessels.
  • Pirates frequently had bands and theater stages on their ships, since they were at sea for months or even more than a year at a time.

Folklore

  • According to legend, after Blackbeard was killed, his headless body was pitched overboard, and it swam around the ship several times.
  • After Captain Kidd’s death, there were lots of rumors of buried treasure, and people searched for it all over the world.
  • Pirates didn’t really make people walk the plank. They just threw people overboard.
  • And they were much more likely to spend their treasure than bury it.
  • The Black Spot as a sign of a pirate captain about to be deposed was fiction, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

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