For years they’ve roamed the seven seas bringing terror into the hearts of honest sailors. I speak of course of the infamous pirate. Ever since the ship was invented, pirates have attacked and pillaged, raped and murdered on any ship they’ve come across.
A famous historical pirate is Captain Blackbeard, real name Edward Teach (ca. 1680-1718), who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies during the early 18th century. A shrewd and calculating leader, Teach used his fearsome image instead of force to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day image of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded his vessels with the permission of their crews, and there are no known accounts of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive. He was romanticised after his death, and became the inspiration for a number of pirate-themed works of fiction across a range of genres.
There were a few cases of women becoming pirates as well. One such woman was Anne Bonny (1702-1782), who operated in the Caribbean Sea. Due to her parents’ complicated marriages, Anne, an illegitimate child, was raised as a boy. When she was discovered to actually be a girl, her parents came clean with their affair and was shunned by the community. The result was a move to America. Here Anne grew up to marry a small-time pirate by the name of James Bonny. Through him she met John “Calico Jack” Rackham, captain of the pirate sloop Revenge, and she became his mistress. Thus she was set for a life of piracy. Escaping her husband, she and Rackham gathered a crew (including another female pirate, Mary Read) and lived the pirate-life until overtaken by one of the King’s ships and brought in chains to Jamaica. Here they were sentenced to death by hanging, but Anne “pleaded her belly” and was given a temporary stay of execution. There are no certain sources stating what happened since, but the most likely alternative seems to be that her father managed to secure her release and that she returned to America.
There are of course pirates today as well, but they’re more of the poverty-stricken, machine gun-sporting, no-nonsense types who do not have any regard for the romanticized image we strive to uphold in the Western part of the world.
To be a pirate (the cool type) you need a proper pirates outfit:
Notice especially the boots, the jacket and the hat.
And of course you will be needing a fancy flag. Here are some suggestions:
Pirates have always been an inspiration for stories, and perhaps the most (in)famous fictional pirates are Captain Hook from J. M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.
And Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island.
But to us here at Vili Flik there can really only be one pirate: Captain Jack Sparrow, the greatest dandy to ever rum the seven seas (see what I did there?)
If you like the idea of being a pirate then you should know that the international Talk Like A Pirate-day is on September 19th every year. Go shiver their timbers!