top of page

Pirates 2

Who were pirates?

•Pirates were robbers who roamed the seas and stole from other ships.

•Men became pirates for all sorts of reasons.

•Some thought a pirate’s life was full of adventure.

•Lots of men thought there would be plenty of precious treasure.

•Many thought the life was easy.

•Some were forced to work on pirate ships.

•Some were slaves that once freed chose to stay on the pirate ships.

•Over three hundred years ago, thousands of pirates sailed around the world.

•It was a time in history that became known as the Golden Age of Piracy.

•Pirates were mainly in the Caribbean Sea. It was very popular because of the many small islands in that area.

•Can you locate the Caribbean on a world map?

stoneage timeline.jpg

Every pirate had to agree to a strict set of rules before they could join a ship and go on a voyage.

It was very important to have a set of rules on board a ship.

They could even vote the Captain out if he was not doing his job properly

The Pirate Code

1. Rock the Vote

“Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity makes it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.”

2. Don’t Steal from Pirates
“Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes, because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels, or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another, he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.”

3. Gambling’s for Landlubbers

“None shall game for money, either with dice or cards.”

4. Mind the Curfew

“The lights and candles shall be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.”

5. Keep Battle-Ready

“Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols, at all times clean and ready for action.”

6. Stand by Your Hearties

“He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in the time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.”

7. Settle Disputes Onshore (with Pistols & Cutlasses, of Course)

“None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man's quarrel shall be ended onshore by sword or pistol in this manner: at the word of command from the Quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the Quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim, they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draws first blood shall be declared the victor.”

8. Lose a Limb, Get Worker’s Comp

“Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have eight hundred pieces of eight from the common stock, and for lesser hurts proportionately.”

9. Remember: Rank Has its Privileges

“The Captain and the Quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the Master Gunner and Boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.”

10. Give the Band a Break

“The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only, by right, on all other days, by favour only.”

Any pirates who did not obey the code were punished.

Sometimes the punishments were done onboard ship but the worse

kind of punishment was to be marooned on a desert island

Happy Birthday Cake.jpg

Pirate Clothing

•Pirates wore rough clothes or clothes they had stolen.

•They liked to wear their best clothes when they were ashore.

•Some of their clothing was very practical.

A pirate’s hat or headscarf protected him from the sun.

Ribbons and sashes were used for attaching weapons.

Boots were strong and kept feet dry.

What happened to pirates?

•The British Navy needed to take action as many ships were attacked by pirates.

•Big warships hunted down pirates and captured them.

•Many pirates were put on trial for their crimes.

•The Golden Age ended with many pirates being captured and killed.

Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny (born on March 8, 1702, died possibly on April 1782) was an Irish woman and one of the most famous female pirates during the 18th century era that is today most commonly known as The Golden Age of Pirates.

Anne Bonny is famous as one of few women to become pirates. Said to be as tough and fearless as any pirate, she stood alongside her shipmates in many a battle. In recent times she has appeared as a character in an Assassins Creed video game, and the US TV series Black Sails.

She was born illegitimately, as Anne Cormac, near Cork in Ireland. Her father had an affair with his maid, and Anne was born. The maid was sent away. Because he had an affair, his family were very upset with him and he was disinherited. Instead of the family money going to him, it went to his wife. His wife gave him an allowance (a bit like pocket money).

When Anne was still very young, she was brought to live with her father. So that his wife would not find out that Anne was his child - he dressed her as a boy. But his wife found out about Anne and she stopped his allowance.

Anne's father was so angry that his allowance was stopped, he brought the maid (Anne's mother) to live with them.  This was not a good idea and it led to the collapse of her father's law practice. Now, without work, and living with so much shame, he had to leave his family home in Ireland. He travelled to Carolina to start a new life with Anne and her mother.

In Carolina, her father became successful, and years later when her mother died, Anne took over as his housekeeper.

Anne grew up very tough and was not afraid of dealing very severely with any man that she didn't like.

Anne married a sailor called John Bonny. He father was not happy about this and threw her out of the house. John and Anne travelled to Providence in search of work.

It was while in Providence, she met John 'Calico Jack' Rackham, the pirate, who began courting her. She left her husband and eloped to sea with Calico Jack Rackham. When she became pregnant, Anne was sent to Cuba until she gave birth. She then returned to Rackham.

Anne Bonny was a formidable pirate who fought and drank as well as, if not better than, the male pirates. When she fought, she dressed as a man.

When their ship was finally taken in November 1720, Anne, alongside Mary Read and another crew member, were all that stayed on the deck to fight.

She was captured and convicted  of piracy and sentenced to hang. She was not hung because she was pregnant at the time. She was kept in jail until she gave birth.

There is no recorded evidence of what happened to her after that but she was not executed. It is believed that her father used his influence to have her freed. It is thought that she started a new life and died at the age of 82.

John 'Calico Jack' Rackham

John 'Calico Jack' Rackham - Pirate (c1682 - 1720) Calico Jack was an English pirate, however little is known of his life before piracy. He was active during what was known as ‘The Golden Age of Pirates’ and gained his notoriety from having two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, serving under his command. His greatest legacy was his flag, which has become the best known of all pirate flags.

John Rackham used to wear brightly coloured Indian Calico cloth.

This is how he became know as  Calico Jack.

He had his own pirate flag which became the most widely

known flag to represent pirates. It showed a skull

with two crossed swords beneath it. It is now know as the Jolly Roger.

Calico Jack first served as a Quartermaster aboard the sloop ‘Ranger’ under the pirate Charles Vane. While serving under Vane, Calico Jack, along with the rest of the ship’s company, snubbed the offer of the King’s Pardon. On 24th November 1718 he was voted Captain in place of Vane, who was branded a coward for ordering them all to sail away from a French Man of War rather than risk boarding her.

He had his own flag which was to become the most recognized of all pirate flags. His flag was a skull with two crossed swords beneath it, now commonly known as the Jolly Roger.

Several ships were plundered by him including a ship from Madeira, which they detained for two to three days before letting it go.

Calico Jack and his crew spent Christmas 1718 ashore, drinking and merrymaking until they ran out of liquor. He then returned to the sea to get more.

Although he was fairly successful, he didn’t take any great prizes except for a ship full of prisoners on their way from Newgate prison to the plantations. A few days later, he lost this prize to an English Man of War.

Two more ships were taken by him before he went to the Bahamas to refit his own ship using the stores, pitch and tar that he’d plundered. He stayed there a little too long, resulting in the Governor, Woodes Rogers, sending a sloop out after him. The sloop managed to retake the ships, however he managed to escape.

Calico Jack sailed for Cuba and stayed there until his money and provisions ran out. As he was preparing to leave, a Spanish Man of War approached, with an English sloop they’d captured, and attacked them. As evening came the Spanish ship stayed where it was, intending to finish them off the next morning. Realising he was trapped and his situation desperate, he waited until nightfall before taking his crew, armed with pistols and cutlasses, to the captured English Sloop. Calico Jack and his crew overcame the Spaniards on the ship and took command. He then sailed out to sea and escaped. In August 1720, he had only a small crew and was attacking small craft and fishing boats off the coast of Jamaica. In September 1720 he headed for Hispaniola where he took on some French crew. Calico Jack went on to plunder two sloops before returning to Jamaica, and on 19th October 1720 he took a schooner.  The next day, he took a sloop, and the sloop’s crew joined them.  The Governor came to hear of Calico Jack’s exploits and sent a heavily manned sloop, commanded by Captain Jonathan Barnet of the Royal Navy, to find him.

Barnet caught up with Calico Jack at Point Negril and boarded his ship. Calico Jack and most of the crew retreated below the deck leaving Anne Bonny, Mary Read and another crew member to fight. After a short fight, his ship was taken.

On 16th November 1720 at an Admiralty court in St. Jago de la Vega, Jamaica, Calico Jack and his crew were convicted of piracy and sentenced to hang. Calico Jack was hung on 18th November 1720 at Gallows Point in Port Royal. His body was later taken down and hung in chains from a gibbet.

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach - Pirate (1680 - 1718) Probably the most notorious of all the pirates from what has become known as 'The Golden Age of Pirates'. As with so many pirates, his life was short lived, however the effect it had on history has ensured that the name Blackbeard will live on for many years to come.

Blackbeard appeared as a character in the popular video game Assassins Creed IV Black Flag, and has been portrayed in many films including Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides and, more recently, the Peter Pan prequel - Pan.

He was born as Edward Teach in Bristol around 1680.

He spent some time sailing on privateers.

Despite uncommon boldness and personal courage, he was never promoted to command a ship.

It’s believed that he became a pirate towards the end of 1716.

Edward Teach became known as Blackbeard having grown a large black beard that covered a large part of his face. He was known to twist it into small tails and tie them with ribbons. He would light slow match fuses and hang them from under his hat. The resulting smoke and sparks made him look menacing. He wore a sash across his body with three braces (pairs) of pistols.

The first ship that he commanded as a pirate was a sloop that he was put onto by Captain Benjamin Hornigold, who he'd served under for a time. Samuel 'Black Sam' Bellamy was also part of Hornigold's company at this time.

He was in league with Hornigold until early 1718 when Hornigold accepted a general pardon for pirates offered by King George l (dated 5th September 1717 to last until 5th September 1718).

In November 1717, he captured a French ship named La Concorde and changed it’s name to Queen Anne’s Revenge. To strengthen its fire power, he added 40 cannons.

He met a 10 gun sloop commanded by Major Stede Bonnet. On discovering Bonnet was an inexperienced sailor, Blackbeard, with consent from his crew, placed Captain Richards in charge of Bonnet’s sloop. He then took Bonnet aboard his own ship telling him that he could live easy at his pleasure, and he would not be obliged to perform any duties.

After plundering five ships in the bay of Honduras, he let three of them go. The other two were burned, one because he spited the owner, the other because it was from Boston, where some men had recently been hung for piracy.

Blackbeard blockaded Charles Town, Carolina, taking many ships and prisoners. He sent a few pirates, with a prisoner, to the government of the province to demand a chest of medicine. The government gave in to his demands, and after plundering the ships, he released them and the prisoners.

His Company consisted of the Queen Anne’s Revenge and three sloops, when he decided to break it up and keep the best of their money and plunder. Faking an accident, he ran the Queen Anne's Revenge aground and ordered one of the others to come and help. In doing so, the other ship also ran aground. He transferred to another of the ships with around forty hands. They sailed to an island where he marooned seventeen of them.

He sailed to North Carolina where he accepted the King’s general pardon from the Governor Charles Eden.

During this time he bigamously married, what was said to be his fourteenth wife. It was believed that twelve of his wives were still alive.

Governor Charles Eden granted him one of the ships he had taken as a pirate. This was the start of a partnership between the two, which would see Blackbeard returning to piracy and sharing his spoils with the Governor.

In June 1718 he headed to Bermuda and met two or three English ships. He only robbed them of the provisions he required, then let them go.

Near Bermuda, he came across two French ships, one was empty the other loaded with Sugar and Cocoa. He set the crew of the loaded ship onto the empty ship then took the loaded ship back to North Carolina. The spoils were divided with a share going to the Governor and another to the Governor’s Secretary. He set the French ship alight in a river to destroy any evidence of this deed.

Knowing that Governor Eden was in league with him, complaints against Blackbeard were made to the Governor of Virginia. This resulted in a Proclamation offering rewards for capturing or killing pirates.

The Proclamation, dated 14th November 1718, specified the reward for Blackbeard as being one hundred pounds.

A Lieutenant Robert Maynard, of the Royal Navy, was despatched, in secrecy, with two sloops by the Virginian Governor to deal with the pirate. Maynard finally encountered him on 22nd November 1718, and after Blackbeard boarded Maynard’s ship he was shot by Maynard but continued to fight.

He finally fell after being shot five times and receiving 20 other wounds.

His head was cut from his body and mounted on the bowsprit of Maynard's ship. His body was thrown overboard.

Blackbeard has been portrayed in many films including Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides. More recently,  Blackbeard featured in the Peter Pan prequel - Pan, where he was played by Hugh Jackman the actor famous for playing the X-Men character Wolverine. He has also appeared as a character in the US TV series Black Sails.

Romantic Couple

Henry Avery

Henry Avery (aka Every) - Pirate (1659 - Unknown) Also known as Henry Every, he became a privateer before turning to piracy. He is renowned for taking an exceptionally rich prize, and being one of few pirates to retire with his plunder.

Henry Avery (also known as Every) was born near Plymouth in Devon in 1659. Little is known of his early life, however In March 1689 Henry Avery was recorded as being a midshipman, under the command of Sir Francis Wheeler, aboard HMS Rupert, a battleship of sixty four guns. During 1689, following HMS Rupert taking part in the capture of a French convoy, Henry Avery gained promotion to Master’s Mate. He transferred to HMS Albemarle with Wheeler during 1690 and in August that same year, he was discharged from the Royal Navy. Following his discharge, Henry Avery became a slave trader. Not much is known about his time as a slave trader, however it is known that Henry Avery would trick the slave traders by using the English flag to make them think he was friendly, then he would imprison both the slaves and their traders.

Henry Avery instigated the mutiny when he rushed the ‘Charles II’ with around twenty five others, on the 7th May 1694. Captain Gibson was confined to his bunk at the time so the mutiny was over without bloodshed. A longboat from the ’James’ pulled alongside and the sixteen occupants joined Henry Avery and the mutineers.

bottom of page