It is September 19th, Talk Like a Pirate Day!
It is September 19th, Talk Like a Pirate Day!
International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
From Tim Collier:
Ah, well. Designing pirates for work, and sketched this out as a possible flag for the undead pirate, Razig.
The term “Jolly Roger” is actually from the French, “Jolie Rouge,” or “pretty red (flag)”. At the dawn of the Golden Age of Piracy, there weren’t any skull-and-crossbones banners, so pirates generally flew a solid red flag — the flag for “No Quarter” — no mercy asked, none granted. After a while, captains began to customize their happy red flags with skulls, hourglasses, bleeding hearts, swords, severed heads… Edward Teach (Blackbeard) went so far as to fly a flag depicting himself and Death drinking a toast. And most of the flags, for the sake of visibility, became black. Tadaaah!
This image, although free to use as a wallpaper, is ©2006 Tim Collier. There are shirts and stuff here, and I might even see about printing up some real flags soon… So please be kind and respect the copyright, OK? Thankee!
The son of George Roberts of Little Newcastle, Wales, John Roberts was born May 17, 1682. Going to sea at 13, Roberts appears to have worked in the merchant service until 1719. For some reason during this time Roberts changed his name from John to Bartholomew. In 1718, Roberts served as a mate of a sloop trading around Barbados. The following year he signed on as third mate of the London-owed slaver Princess. Serving under Captain Abraham Plumb, Roberts traveled to Anomabu, Ghana in 1719. While off the coast of Africa, Princess was captured by the pirate vessels Royal Rover and Royal James led by Howell Davis.
Coming aboard Princess, Davis forced several of Plumb’s men, including Roberts to join his crew. A reluctant recruit, Roberts soon found favor when Davis learned that he was a skilled navigator. A fellow Welshman, Davis frequently conversed with Roberts in Welsh which allowed them to speak without the rest of the crew comprehending their discussion. After several weeks of cruising, Royal James had to be abandoned due to worm damage. Steering for Isle of Princes, Davis entered the harbor flying British colors. While repairing the ship, Davis began planning to capture the Portuguese governor.
Inviting the governor to dine aboard Royal Rover, Davis was in turn asked to the fort for a drink prior to the meal. Having discovered Davis’ true identity, the Portuguese planned an ambush. As Davis’ boat neared, they opened fire killing the pirate captain. Fleeing the harbor, the crew ofRoyal Rover was forced to elect a new captain. Though he had only been aboard for six weeks, Roberts was selected by the men to take command. Returning to the Isle of Princes after dark, Roberts and his men looted the town and killed the majority of the male population.
Though he had initially been an unwilling pirate, Roberts took to his new role as captain feeling that it was “Better being a commander than a common man.” After capturing two ships, Royal Rover put into Anamboe for provisions. While in port, Roberts had his crew vote on the destination of their next voyage. Selecting Brazil, they crossed the Atlantic and anchored at Ferdinando to refit the ship. With this work completed, they spent nine fruitless weeks searching for shipping. Shortly before abandoning the hunt and moving north to the West Indies, Roberts located a fleet of 42 Portuguese merchant ships.
Entering Todos os Santos’ Bay, Roberts captured one of the ships. Confronting its captain, he forced the man to point out the richest ship in the merchant fleet. Moving swiftly, Roberts’ men swarmed aboard the indicated vessel and seized over 40,000 gold moidors as well as jewelry and other valuables. Departing the bay, they sailed north to Devil’s Island to enjoy their loot. Several weeks later, Robert captured a sloop off the River Surinam. Shortly thereafter a brigantine was sighted. Eager for more plunder, Roberts and 40 men took the sloop to pursue it.
While they were gone, Roberts’ subordinate, Walter Kennedy, and the rest of the crew sailed away with Rover and the treasure taken off Brazil. Irate, Roberts’ drew up new, strict articles to govern his crew and made the men swear to them on a Bible. Renaming the sloop Fortune they proceeded to attack shipping around Barbados. In response to his actions, the merchants on the island fitted out two ships to seek and capture the pirates. On February 26, 1720, they found and engaged Roberts and a pirate sloop captained by Montigny la Palisse. While Roberts turned to fight, la Palisse fled.
In the ensuing battle, Fortune was badly damaged and 20 of Roberts’ men were killed. Able to escape, he sailed for Dominica for repairs, evading pirate hunters from Martinique en route. Swearing vengeance on both islands, Roberts turned north and sailed to Newfoundland. After raiding the port of Ferryland, he entered the harbor of Trepassey and captured 22 ships. Commandeering a brig to replace his sloop, Roberts armed it with 16 guns and renamed it Fortune. Departing in June 1720, he quickly captured ten French ships and took one of them for his fleet. Naming it Good Fortune he armed it with 26 guns.
Returning to the Caribbean, Roberts put into Carriacou to careen Good Fortune. When this was completed he renamed the ship Royal Fortune and moved to attack St. Kitts. Entering Basse Terra Roads, he quickly captured all of the shipping in the harbor. After a brief stay on St. Bartholomew, Roberts’ fleet began attacking shipping off St. Lucia and took 15 ships in three days. Among the prisoners was James Skyrme who became one of Roberts’ captains. Through the spring of 1721, Roberts’ and his men effectively stopped trade in the Windward Islands.
After capturing and hanging the governor of Martinique in April 1721, Roberts set course for West Africa. On April 20, Thomas Anstis, the captain of Good Fortune, left Roberts during the night and returned to the West Indies. Pressing on, Roberts arrived at the Cape Verde Islands where he was forced to abandon Royal Fortune due to heavy leaking. Transferring to the sloop Sea King, he renamed the vessel Royal Fortune. Making landfall off Guinea in early June, Roberts quickly captured two French ships which he added to his fleet as Ranger andLittle Ranger.
Operating off Sierra Leone later that summer, Roberts captured the British frigate Onslow. Taking possession, he made it his flagship with the name Royal Fortune. Following several months of successful plundering, Roberts attacked and occupied the port of Ouidah taking ten ships in the process. Moving to Cape Lopez, Roberts took time to careen and repair his ships. While there, the pirates were spotted by HMS Swallow, commanded by Captain Chaloner Ogle. Believing Swallow to be a merchant ship, Roberts sent James Skyrme and Ranger in pursuit. Leading the pirate vessel out of sight of Cape Lopez, Ogle turned and opened fire. Quickly defeating Skyrme, Ogle turned and set course for Cape Lopez.
Seeing Swallow approach on February 10, Roberts believed it to be Ranger returning from the hunt. Rallying his men, many of whom were drunk after capturing a ship the day before, Roberts sailed out in Royal Fortune to meet Ogle. Roberts plan was to pass Swallow and then fight in open water where escape would be easier. As the ships passed, Swallow opened fire.Royal Fortune‘s helmsman then erred allowing the British ship to unleash a second broadside. At that moment, Roberts was struck in the neck by grape shot and killed. His men managed to bury him at sea before being forced to surrender. Believed to have captured over 470 ships, Bartholomew Robert was one of the most successful pirates of all time. His death helped bring a close to the “Golden Age of Piracy.”
Anne Bonney and Mary Read are the most famous — and ferocious — women pirates in history, and they are the only ones known to have plied their trade in the Western Hemisphere.
Anne Bonney, born in County Cork, Ireland, was the illegitimate daughter of lawyer William Cormac and his housemaid. They immigrated to America after Anne’s birth in the late 1600s and settled on a plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. A headstrong young woman “with a fierce and courageous temper,” she eloped with a young ne’er-do-well, James Bonney, against her father’s wishes. James took her to a pirates’ lair in New Providence in the Bahamas, but in 1718, when Bahamian Governor Woodes Rogers offered the King’s pardon to any pirate, James turned informant. Anne was disgusted with his cowardice and soon after, she met and fell in love with the swaggering pirate Captain Jack Rackham. Disguising herself as a male, she began sailing with him on his sloop Vanity, with its famous skull-and-crossed-daggers flag, preying on Spanish treasure ships off Cuba and Hispaniola. It is reported that she became pregnant by Jack and retired from piracy only long enough to have her baby and leave it with friends in Cuba before rejoining him and her adventurous life on the high seas.
Mary Read was born at Plymouth, England, about 1690. Her mother’s husband was a sea-faring man who left on a long voyage and was never heard from again. He’d left his wife pregnant and she gave birth to a sickly male child who died soon after the illegitimate birth of his half-sister, Mary. The mother waited years for her husband to return and when her money ran out, she took Mary to London to appeal to her mother-in-law for financial help. She knew this old woman disliked girls, so she dressed Mary in boy’s clothes and made her pretend to be her son. The mother-in-law was fooled and promised a crown a week to help support them. Mary continued to masquerade as a boy for many years, even after the old woman died and the financial aid ended.
Then a teenager, Mary was hired out as a footboy to a French woman. But according to history, “here she did not live long, for growing bold and strong, and having also a roving mind, she entered herself on board a man-of-war, where she served some time; then quitted it.” Still disguised as a male, she enlisted in a foot regiment in Flanders and later a horse regiment, serving in both with distinction. She fell in love with a fellow soldier, disclosed her true sex, and began dressing as a female. After their marriage, she and her husband became innkeepers, owning the Three Horseshoes near the castle of Breda in Holland. Unfortunately, he died young and her fortunes soon dwindled.
She knew that life in the 1700s was much easier as a man than as a woman, so she reverted back to men’s clothing and started her life over, this time going to sea on a Dutch merchant ship heading to the Caribbean. On one voyage, the ship was commandeered by English pirates with whom she sailed and fought until they accepted the King’s pardon in 1718 and began operating as privateers. Soon afterwards, their ship was overtaken by Captain Jack Rackham’s Vanity and, bored of the legitimate life, she again turned pirate. Anne Bonney was already part of Rackham’s crew, and she and Mary quickly discovered each other’s cross-dressing secret and became close friends. Despite her tough exterior, Mary found a lover on board and is said to have saved his life by protecting him from a threatened duel. She picked a fight with his opponent first and, with deadly use of her sword and pistol, ended his life before he could harm her husband-to-be.
Both Anne and Mary were known for their violent tempers and ferocious fighting, and they shared a reputation as “fierce hell cats.” Their fellow crewmembers knew that — in times of action — no one else was as ruthless and bloodthirsty as these two women were. Captain Jack, nicknamed “Calico Jack” for his love of colorful cotton clothing, was a well-known pirate in those days, but his reputation has survived through the ages primarily because of these two infamous women pirates on his crew.
In late October 1720, Rackkam’s ship was anchored off Point Negril, Jamaica, the pirates celebrating recent victories in their typical hard-drinking tradition. Suddenly a British Navy sloop — the man-o-war Albion, headed by Captain Jonathan Barnet — surprised them. The drunken male pirates quickly hid below deck, leaving only Anne and Mary to defend their ship. The women yelled at their pirate mates to “come up, you cowards, and fight like men,” and then angrily raged against them, killing one and wounding several others. But the women were eventually overwhelmed by the British Navy, and the entire crew was captured and taken to Jamaica to stand trial.
Captain Jack and the male members of his crew were tried on November 16, 1720, and were sentenced to hang. Anne was allowed to visit her lover in his cell before his execution, and instead of the consoling, loving words he was undoubtedly expecting, her scathing comments live on throughout history: “Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hang’d like a dog.”
Anne and Mary were tried one week after Rackham’s death and were also found guilty. But at their sentencing, when asked by the judge if they had anything to say, they replied, “Mi’lord, we plead our bellies.” Both were pregnant, and since British law forbade killing an unborn child, their sentences were stayed temporarily.
Mary is said to have died of a violent fever in the Spanish Town prison in 1721, before the birth of her child. Other reports say she feigned death and was sneaked out of the prison under a shroud.
No record of Anne’s execution has ever been found. Some say that her wealthy father bought her release after the birth of her child and she settled down to a quiet family life on a small Caribbean island. Others believe that she lived out her life in the south of England, owning a tavern where she regaled the locals with tales of her exploits.
And yet others say Anne and Mary moved to Louisiana where they raised their children together and were friends to the ends of their lives.
Taken From: http://www.bonney-readkrewe.com/legend.html