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10 interesting facts about pirates


Thanks to numerous books, movies and TV shows we have developed a very romantic notion about pirates. Only one charming captain Jack Sparrow played by johnny Depp did "bloody pirates" an entire army of their fans.

In fact, "pirate fashion" in the arts for over 300 years – the first novels about the noble pirates began to emerge in the early XVIII century and in the XIX century they were extremely popular.

Well, of course! Of the Teens who did not dream of the Maritime romance, free life, salty wind and exciting adventures with boarding and buried treasure.

In fact, it was much unattractive, dirty and scary. Few of our contemporaries could bear to live such a life, with its constant hunger (or rotten food), threatening, unhygienic and rude manners "colleagues" on the ship, which had to endure many months, for on land the pirates have landed during long trips not so often. And Yes, to survive you had to kill (and sometimes very ugly).

So keep you 10 real facts about pirates and piracy:

10. Pirates wore earrings to decorate

We know from the movies that the pirates were the more "fashion-forward" – almost every one of them wore a gold earring or two.

In fact it is not fiction. But of course, such earrings were worn not for the sake of beauty (and not even in order to show the richness and the luck of a pirate).

Historians offer several versions, which could serve as pirate earrings:

  • They were part of a peculiar ritual "initiation," when a young sailor first crossed the equator or have rounded Cape horn, he received a sign of his "experience" my first earring;
  • Many pirates (and ordinary seamen) believed that the earring sighted. Another version: facilitates sea-sickness. And yet it was used as talisman: for example, the earring can cast a spell of invulnerability and good luck;
  • Before the battle, the earrings were attached wax earplugs to using them, not to become deaf from the roar of guns and cries of the wounded;
  • And, perhaps, the most plausible version, the earring served as a guarantee that suddenly deceased pirate will get a decent burial. No gentleman of fortune was not sure that he would die in his bed profound old man, to die could be any minute (in a shipwreck, in battle or even just gorged on rum to death after a successful campaign). Pirate could drink all the booty, except for treasured earrings. And what it obesity, the greater the confidence that the owner will be buried with dignity, taking the earring as payment.
  • 9. Not all the pirates with the eye patch was a one-eyed

    You probably noticed that in books and movies about pirates, like a lot of one-eyed characters with a black blindfold.

    In fact, these gentlemen of fortune "appearance defects" really was full: in fact a firearm then, most often, shot with buckshot, and numerous flying fragments (and wooden splinters from the destroyed ship) has caused a very great damage to "manpower" of the two fighting sides. But the pirates with little damage, of course, continued to go to sea with his team.

    Moreover, the black armbands are sometimes worn not only real one-eyed pirates, but it is sighted: they say they were very easy to aim (just remember not to hope the pistols of that time that it was better to keep two hands).

    And when, after the Board needed to "clean up" in the dark hold, eyes covered with a bandage, much quicker to adapt to the darkness after the bright light outside.

    8. Walk along the yardarm was not the most common punishment

    Literally every second pirate film we see, it would seem that the "beloved" gentlemen of fortune kind of punishment – "a walk in the yard".

    Was it that the man was blindfolded, bound hands and sent to "walk" the plank extended over the side (or, really, ray), until he falls to the deck or into the sea.

    In fact, this "walk" was a rarity, applicable mainly to the personal enemies of the pirate leaders, so they could watch (and enjoy!) for the fear and panic on the face of condemned men.

    In fact, much worse for the guilty pirate or prisoner was "dragging under the keel": poor tortured tied with ropes and, with the help of the system blocks, is lowered overboard and dragged under the bottom of the ship (and the ship could be very large!).

    Here, the main danger was not even the fact that in the process of torture you can simply drown, experienced swimmers were able to hold their breath for a rather long time.

    But the fact that the ship in its underwater part usually densely overgrown with barnacles, sharp edge which was literally scarred up the human body "in pieces", causing extreme pain and inflicting such wounds, which are very long (and bad) to heal.

    7. On the pirate ships acted harsh discipline

    Again, in the movies and TV shows show us vividly that the pirates were doing on the beach (especially in the process of "prebivaniya" fresh production) – so here they were free for weeks to be almost in a deranged state: to fight, to slaughter, to overspend, to have fun with dirty women, etc.

    But as soon as they returned to the ship that went to sea, each mandatory (under penalty of death!) was strictly to observe discipline, chain of command and the ship's routine, – because it literally depended on their lives.

    Each pirate signed with the captain a paper, in which was clearly delineated rights and responsibilities. To contact the captain was, only the boatswain or an elected "delegate of the team."

    All the orders were carried out quickly and without debate (and not only in combat but also in every ordinary day, because nobody knew when there will be another fight). Disassembly of production is not allowed – each received a share specified in the contract.

    6. Women pirates were a lot

    In the modern popular TV series are often seen on pirate ships, the brave and beautiful (and very bloodthirsty) women in men's clothes and pistols and then with swords, – to recall "Black sails". (By the way, season 4 of this very beautiful pirate Saga, of course, beautifully filmed, but still greatly overstate the daily life of gentlemen of fortune and their customs).

    And although many of us it's hard to believe that all the women pirates are not a fiction of novelists or screenwriters. And there were quite a lot. Moreover, the history knows even the real female pirate captains!

    The most famous pirates (sometimes scaring their brutality and fearlessness even tough men) was, perhaps, the Irish Anne Bonny, grace (actually, a grain) O'malley and Mary Ann Blyde, Englishwoman Mary read, lady Mary Killigrew and Mary Lindsay, of a Frenchwoman, Jeanne de Belleville, Anne Dieu-Le-Ve, and Jeanne de Clisson, Swede Ingela Hammar, etc.

    5. Among the pirates were representatives of all social strata

    It is considered that the pirates became only the commoners, desperate to earn a living in another way, or washed-up thugs without honor and conscience, which before their pirate "careers" characterized by a love of fights, robberies and other scorned in polite society classes. But no!

    Among the pirates, in reality, met the natives and from other estates, including not distressed. Well, at all times, among the "Golden youth" was a natural-born adventurers, who were not satisfied with the well-fed and quiet life.
    Let us recall some well-known pirate captains:

  • So, the Scotsman William Kidd – son of a nobleman, began his career as an officer in the British Navy (and even a few years hunted pirates on duty). But the passion for dangerous adventure, nature cruelty and lust for easy money did the trick, – Kidd himself became a gentleman of fortune.
  • Steed of Bonett (also a nobleman) was a major in the management of the colony on the island of Barbados. But one day he bought a sloop and began to attack passing judgment. What prompted him to do so, it is not clear (they say – vixen-wife).
  • The famous Henry Morgan – son of a big landlord, to continue the family business didn't want (boring!), so I hired a cabin boy on a ship sailing to Barbados, and then pretty quickly has "grown up" energetic pirate captain. Etc.
  • 4. Piracy was one way to make a living

    And yet, Yes indeed, for many members of the pirate brotherhood this immoral and dangerous, but it's pretty simple "business" was the only way to somehow feed themselves (or even save up some money for the future an honest life).

    This primarily concerned the new settlers of Central America, usually not too well-off initially, and which moved to the New world in the hope for change for the better.

    Alas, the reality turned out to be not as rosy as it was painted by recruiters and touts. Often the choice was not great: either to work hard for a pittance on the plantations of large landowners and in their homes as domestic workers (despite the fact that around that time there was a never-ending struggle of major powers for colonies, and as a result the local settlements and estates were regularly burned and ruined, and their inhabitants were deprived of home and property), or to join the sea robbers and at least some time to be fed.

    3. The pirates went across the seas

    The vast majority of novels, films, TV series, video games (etc.) on the pirates of the action takes place in the seas of Central America. Just offhand: "pirates of the Caribbean", "Black sails", "Pirates of the seven seas", "captain blood", "treasure Island," etc.

    Yes, of course, in the eighteenth century the Bahamas was for gentlemen of fortune real "promised land" where they could live by their own laws, subject only to their captains. They even had "capital" town – Nassau (which themselves are pirates called Charles Town).

    But in fact, piracy was a General phenomenon: for example, the French could attack the English and European coasts (and Vice versa); the Dutch suffered from the raids of the Portuguese in Indonesia; Berber and Arab pirates were kept at Bay all the Mediterranean and Indian ocean; Chinese – the entire coast of South-East Asia (including European colonies), etc.

    2. Jolly Roger isn't the only flag pirates

    Yes, it's true: "the Jolly Roger" – it is not common to all the pirates flag. He generally appeared only in the XVII century, when the "Golden age of piracy" was already on the decline (and even became one of the most popular).

    Jolly Roger, of course, very concise and recognizable, but each pirate captain was free to choose his own flag. So there were a few dozen.

    So, the flag of Edward teach skeleton holding an hourglass (symbol of death), while the other hand was pierced with a spear the human heart.

    The flag of Black Bart the pirate with a sabre in hand stood on the skulls of vanquished enemies.

    From Calico Jack (Jack Rekhem) there were a few flags – like with black and red cloth, one of which is very reminiscent of the "Jolly Roger" (but instead of the crossed bones under the skull on it was crossed swords), and the other pirate drinking wine with death (yeah... and captured Rackham got stone drunk).

    1. Not all the pirates were "outside the law"

    Many fans of pirate theme know that in the XIII-XIX centuries there was almost a "legal" version of sea robbery. When sea States were engaged in a war, some "individuals" having armed the court was allowed (with the hands of a special letter from the authorities) to capture and plunder the merchant ships of the enemy.

    To call these "public" gentlemen of fortune, privateers and corsairs. Their main difference from usual pirates were that the pirates, of course, acted only on your own risk (and if caught no doubt were subject to the death penalty), and corsairs with patents from their monarchs were considered prisoners of war, and they could not only redeem, but not bad to reward for service to the crown.

    For example, a completely official privateer was sir Francis Drake (at the moment, – made the first in the history voyage around the world), Walter Raleigh favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, the Frenchman Robert Surcouf (for which Napoleon personally awarded him the title of Baron), and even the great and terrible, Henry Morgan, who eventually became the planter and Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica.

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