It’s National Talk Like A Pirate Day!
Avast ye, why would we want to?
Pirates were and are a pretty nasty crew!
Of course, we’ve allowed them to be seen differently. There’s that ride at Disney, with its cute little characters chasing the town folk.
And of course, Jack Sparrow!
Johnny Depp, Errol Flynn, and Tyrone Power movies along with all those “bodice rippers” on sale in the Kroger book aisle have helped to dilute the real history.
Even James Mitchner used pirates in his novel Chesapeake.
It’s a good book, you should check it out.
Back to pirates.
The Golden Age of Piracy ran from about 1650 to 1730; eighty years of robbery, deception, plunder, and murder on the high seas.
Romanticized in literature and by Hollywood, pirates have morphed into entertaining, lusty Robin Hood’s who in reality didn’t exist.
They were, for the most part, the scum of the earth!
With the end of the War of Spanish Succession, which lasted from 1701 through 1714, many seamen were out of work. They got hungry fast.
As Spain, weakened but rebounding, was rebuilding its mercantile force, Buccaneers abounded on the bounding sea to rob the Spanish King of his ill-gotten Central and South American doubloons.
The Caribbean Sea was the main theater for the dastardly deeds of the devilish deck hands.
Buccaneers were pirates who generally worked in the Caribbean, and exclusively against the Spanish. They were cut-throat, mean, heartless, ill-fed, ill-bred, with little or no respect for life.
But, the Pirate Round was much bigger. Sailing from Bermuda, Nassau, New York City and other Eastern American ports, the crew set a course to the south by southwest along the coast of Africa. Around the Cape of Good Hope to Madagascar, pirates took on fresh provisions, refit, re-crewed, and headed to richer ports – Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas were all targets.
Ships would sail under a nation’s flag until close enough to attack. Then the Jolly Roger would be un-furled.
And even though most of it was at Sea, port cities, and towns were not without pirate invasions.
As in any business or government, which a pirate ship surely was, everything rises and falls on leadership. Ergo: most of the press went to the Ship’s Captain.
Henry Morgan, a true buccaneer, captured Panama, was captured himself, sent to England, tried, sentenced to hang, and wound UP as the Governor of Jamaica!!
I suppose it’s the devil you know.
Captain Kidd wasn’t so lucky. He was executed at London in 1701; people are still searching for the treasure he was to have buried.
Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy considered himself a seafaring Robin Hood, and called his crew, “Robin Hood’s Men.” He piloted the Wydah, one of the most controversial pirate ships in history. First a slaver, it became a pirate ship and sank in 1717.
$300 million worth of gold coins and historically important artifacts were pulled UP from the bottom of the sea.
Calico Jack, a Cuban-English Pirate ravaged the Caribbean for a decade. He was captured, tried, and hanged.
There were generally no ladies on board pirate ships, unless they were captives, hostages, or secreted lovers. But there were lady pirates.
Anne Bonny and Mary Read were two female pirates.
It was a hard knocks life for Anne Bonny and she was looking for a way to escape. Mary Read had been reared as a boy by her family, went to military school, and charged all the ship’s repairs on her Home Depot card.
Both were members of Calico Jack’s crew.
Both were captured, tried, and both delayed their executions by claiming pregnancy.
Read did die in a pirate’s prison – complications, either during or after child-birth.
Bonny, well, she disappeared from the records – no one really knows: was she swung or was she sprung?
Pirates are just that: Pirates.
They worked for themselves, worked for the government when it would save them, and turned on one another at the drop of a cutlass!
So, g’head matey, have a bumboo on for me!
Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!