The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

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Mark Cartwright
published on 30 December 2021

The real pirates of the Caribbean operated during the Golden Age of Piracy (1690-1730) terrorizing merchant ships and colonial ports to grab gold, liquor, and any cargo they fancied during their adventurous but almost always short careers in crime. In this collection, we look at all the key aspects of being a pirate from wearing the flashiest clothes and handling the best weapons to saying the right maritime expressions. We look, too, at the havens they used, the treasure they captured, and the punishments they suffered. Finally, we showcase four of the most notorious pirates. There is the master of showmanship Blackbeard, Captain Kidd and his fabled buried treasure that still tantalises treasure-seekers today, Anne Bonny who fought with more courage than her male crewmates, and the most successful of them all, mad, bad Bartholomew Roberts.

Perhaps surprisingly for a gang of cut-throats, a pirate captain was frequently elected to his position, but then again, it was difficult to lead through coercion a group of individuals who valued their liberty above all else. Many mariners had turned to piracy precisely because of the strict discipline and harsh punishments of life on a merchant or naval ship and so they were hardly likely to put up with a leader who ruled by the rod alone.



Questions & Answers

Who were the real pirates of Caribbean?

The real pirates of the Caribbean were desperate criminals, mostly men but some women, too, who plundered easy targets like unarmed merchant ships in the Caribbean Sea from 1690 to 1730. Famous pirates include Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Bartholomew Roberts, and Anne Bonny.

Were the Pirates of the Caribbean based on real pirates?

The Hollywood film series the Pirates of the Caribbean has many characters based on real pirates who plundered the Caribbean from 1690 to 1730 during the so-called Golden Age of Piracy. The films take inspiration from clothing, weapons, tactics, and punishments the real pirates used but there are also many stereotypes with no particular basis in history such as sailing large ships, wearing bandanas, and making victims walk the plank.

Was Jack Sparrow a real pirate?

There was no historical pirate called Jack Sparrow but some aspects of his appearance, character, and behaviour can be traced to many different real pirates of the Caribbean from 1690 to 1730.
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About the Author

Mark Cartwright
Mark is a full-time writer, researcher, historian, and editor. Special interests include art, architecture, and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the WHE Publishing Director.

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