Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Women Pirates!

I just finished reading a book entitled "The Real Pirates of the Caribbean" by Colin Woodard, it was a free find one day while I was perusing the kindle free book discussion on Amazon. (See my Tuesday Teasers tab for some quotes from the book.) This book was an interesting and intriguing find, today these pirates are like folk heroes to many, especially after Johnny Depp made a first class impression by playing the loveable scoundrel, Captain Jack Sparrow in recent popular movies. What I didn't know was that there were three notable women pirates whose stories are wrapped in history and mystery but they really existed and raided and fought on pirate ships, one of the women was even known as a pirate queen.These three renowned women pirates were; Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Grace O'Malley; she was known as the Irish Pirate Queen.

Depiction of Anne Bonny
Mary Read and Anne Bonny served on ships with 'Calico' Jack Rackham, known for wearing bright colored clothing, he often sailed the waters near Jamaica and the Bahamas. He was a former sailor on the HMS Neptune, but decided the Captain was a wimp because he would not fight the French so he conspired to overthrow the vessel and was then elected Captain himself. He fell madly in love with a married Anne Bonny, a fiery redhead and offered to buy her from her husband, who really did not think that was a good idea! I guess Anne also fell madly in love with the exciting bad guy, Calico Jack, because she then ran away with him and became a piratess (is that a real word, piratess?). Not much is really known about these two pirate women but it is rumored that Anne's successful business man father was able to get her out of prison somehow and up to South Carolina, where she married again and raised  family. Unfortunately for Mary, she became sick in prison and died, the women being shown mercy and thrown into prison instead of being hanged, after Calico Jack's crew was captured and met their fates at the end of a rope (about 1720 in Jamaica). There is an island where they were hanged whose name was changed to Rackham's Cay after the demise of the Captain and his crew.


Grace O'Malley came from a seafaring family, loved the sea but was discouraged from partaking in the family 'business' because she was a woman. She managed to trump all the rest of her family by becoming a successful piratess in Ireland and earned the title of Pirate Queen.