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Posted by : Fernando Marcos lunes, 15 de octubre de 2012


A Pirate's Life for Me

Pirates ruled the seven seas all the way from the early 800s up through the mid 1800s, which is a pretty respectable run for a band of scoundrels and thieves! Throw out most everything you learned about those swashbucklers from the movies, and read up on these real pirate facts!

The first fact about pirates is that they had extremely short lifespans. Once someone became a pirate, they were constantly subjected to harsh conditions and extreme violence. Pirates also had no access to medical treatment, so they often suffered from disease or infection. Even some of the most successful pirates of all time only had "careers" of around two or three years.

The Pirate Code

The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' film series made light of the infamous "pirate code," but in real life, pirates took the code extremely seriously. These rules ensured that life on a pirate ship stayed orderly and efficient. Severe punishments were given for: 

- Lying 

- Stealing 

- Cheating 

- Fighting 

Pirate Positions

Unlike what many movies have depicted, pirate ships were not wild and disorganized. Along with the use of the previously mentioned pirate code, the best pirates ran a tight ship with structured ranks, positions, and divisions of labor. There's no way that a disorganized ship would be able to take down a fully-armed Spanish galleon. A few examples of pirate positions include: 

- Captain 

- Quartermaster 

- Cooper 

- Gunner 

- Navigator 

Piracy by Choice

It might surprise you to learn that many pirates actually took on the life of a pirate by choice. Many preferred this option to the life of a merchant or military sailor, both of which typically involved worse conditions than piracy. It was pretty much a no-brainer for any sailor to switch sides in order to earn more money and live in better conditions.

Gentleman and a Pirate

While the typical pirate was the seedy character you see in the movies, many pirates actually came from higher social classes. Pirates like William Kidd turned to a life of crime despite already being wealthy. In addition, some pirates weren't technically considered criminals. These "privateers" plundered from foreign ships and ports and were regarded as naval heroes in their home country. The most famous English privateers were: 

- Sir Francis Drake 

- Sir Walter Raleigh 

- Sir John Hawkins 

Female Pirates

While a vast majority of pirates were men, there were actually a few female pirates! One of these women was Anne Bonny, who sailed with the pirate Calico Jack. She dressed as a man and was one of the ship's strongest fighters. Another female pirate was the dreaded Lady Ching Shih, who captained a pirate fleet of over 100 ships in the seas of China!

Pirate Piercings

Aside from peg-legs and eye-patches, piercings were another symbolic trademark of a pirate. They did it partially as a fashion statement, but mainly because they believed that precious metals like gold and silver would improve eyesight. While this might seem stupid and superstitious now, at the time it was nearly regarded as fact.

Pirate Overboard!

One of the most iconic images of a pirate ship is when someone was forced to walk the plank. Unfortunately, the plank is something of a myth, as very few pirates actually used this method of punishment. However, many ships did use the practice of throwing men overboard. If a ship was running into a string of bad luck or foul weather, a man marked as "Jonah" would be thrown overboard. If that didn't work, then the man that accused him would be thrown over as well!.

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