10 Pirate Facts

How much do you really know about pirates? Here are some fascinating facts for you!

1. The idea of buried treasure is mostly a mythical one which is romantically portrayed in books such as Treasure Island. However, one pirate who was known for burying his treasure was Captain Kidd – it is believed he may have started the myth. 

2. The notion that pirates only plundered gold, silver and exotic treasure is unfounded. Records suggest a normal haul was far more mundane and involved stealing linens, cloths, food, anchors, rope and sometimes medical supplies. 

3. Pirates were therefore very selective about which boats they targeted, to be certain the booty was worth the risks of battle. 

4. Most pirates were extreme squanderers and rarely accumulated enough treasure to bury. Due to the danger and uncertainty of their profession, they were usually determined to live for the present rather than save for the future. 

5. The Jolly Roger is the pirates’ most famous flag, flown to induce their target to surrender. The history of the terms is the subject of great conjecture, a popular theory being it stemmed from the word “rogue”. “Old Roger” is also a term for the Devil. 

6. There is no evidence that pirates ever made their victims walk the plank; there was far too much sport of another kind to be had. A favourite method of dealing with prisoners was to tie them to the mast and then pelt the unfortunate victim with broken bottles. 

7. In pirate language, “splice the mainbrace” means to have a drink and “to dance with Jack Ketch” means to go to the hangman. 

8. Pirate hooks, a popular addition to any costume, probably stemmed from the story of Peter Pan and his arch enemy Captain Hook, who replaced his hand lost to a crocodile with a hook. However, pirates often lost hands in battle and it was common for them to search the ship for something to use as a replacement. 

9. Port Royal, Jamaica, became a safe haven for pirates, a place of great wealth and debauchery known as “the wickedest city on Earth”. 

10. Modern day pirates exist, especially in the waters off Indonesia and Somalia. Rather than relying on cannons and swords though, they tend to prefer using AK-47 rifles and speed boats. 

This information was sourced from a 2015 Telegraph article.

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