Now here’s a topic! Pirates have been romanticized, vilified, and sensationalized. What is the truth about them? It’s sometimes stranger than fiction!
- Pirates pierced their ears not to look devilishly handsome, but it was believed if you pierced your ear with precious metal, it was thought to improve one’s eyesight. Even respected seafaring men did it!
- No one has actually ever found a real pirate’s buried treasure map. Never too far from death, most pirates tried to enjoy their money quickly.
- The Jolly Roger with its skull and crossed bones was designed to be scary. It was not used by all pirates, but many in The Spanish Main did use it to strike fear into their victims.
- It is a fact that many pirates had eye patches, hooks, or peg legs. This was a dangerous profession and many of them were maimed.
- Pirates have been around since boats were built. In fact, Julius Caesar was twice captured by Mediterranean pirates!
- There were up to 80 pirates on most boats in contrast to the British which usually had around 30 men aboard.
- A few of the pirate ships were large. Captain Bellamy’s Whydah, for example, had 28 guns and weighed 300 tons!!
- Pirates probably didn’t have talking parrots. Sorry.
- A gang of Pirates from 1714 called the “Flying Gang” were the inspiration behind Jack Sparrow and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
- Pirates believed that whistling on a ship could call up a storm.
- They also believed having a woman on board was bad luck!
- Pirates weren’t all men! There were several notorious and totally bad-ass women pirates.
- Here’s another idea as to why so many had eye patches…it’s not because they lost an eye! Patches were worn so one eye would remain constantly adjusted to darkness, which made it easier to fight below deck when boarding ships. The technique was so effective that keeping one eye closed is still a technique used in the military today for night survival.
- Many captains had a pay scale for extra booty if the pirate was injured. The more extensive the injury, the more they got. If fact, injured pirates who continued with that life were held in respect and seen as being very brave.
- People from all social classes became pirates, they weren’t all thugs and thieves.
*** If you loved these facts, you’ll LOVE these books!!
Romance on the High Seas: Seven Swashbuckling Pirate Romances