Pirate Facts

If you fancy brushing up your knowledge of all things naughtily nautical, here are ten of the best pirate facts (and factoids) around…

  1. September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, when it’s not only acceptable to talk like a pirate but it’s absolutely encouraged.
  2. Even though it was considered bad luck for women to be on board a pirate ship, it didn’t stop them following their dreams to be pirates. They would wear men’s clothes and change their names to fool the other crew members.
  3. Two female pirates, who sailed together (Mary Read and Anne Bonny) were so convincing as men that neither of them initially realised the other was a woman.
  4. Pirates came from all over the world, so the specific west country accent we associate with them isn’t actually correct. That accent came from the 1950 Disney movie Treasure Island, in which one of the main actors decided that it would suit his character. So successful was the film that the accent became associated with pirates ever since.
  5. Speaking of Treasure Island, the author of the book upon which the film was based (Robert Louis Stevenson) is responsible for much of what we love about Pirates. The suggestion that pirates had parrots, or that they said things like “Shiver me timbers” all the time were made up by Stevenson for the book.
  6. Pirates didn’t wear eye patches just to look cool (although they did look cool). Some say they wore them to keep one eye constantly adjusted to the dark, so that when they went below deck they wouldn’t bump into things. Unfortunately, there is no recorded evidence that this is true but I hope it was.
  7. Pirates didn’t always bury their treasure either. More often than not they split it equally amongst the entire crew. Well, except for the captain, who usually got a bigger share. He was the captain after all.
  8. Captains were actually elected by the crew and also removed from power if they abused their position, or took too big a share of the treasure.
  9. Perhaps the most famous, and certainly scariest, pirate captain ever was Edward Teach (known to most as Blackbeard). But he wasn’t the most successful pirate, that crown goes to Black Bart (known to his mother as Bartholomew Roberts) who captured about 400 ships over the course of his career.
  10. John was briefly a pirate, at the age of six, but nobody believed him.