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  • Writer's pictureFACTORALY


Bruce heaves ho. Simon shows us his booty.

Being a pirate seems so romantic. Someone who refuses to follow the well-beaten shipping lanes and goes their own way. And that's kind of true. Except for the death and destruction... This episode looks at the body that clothes the Jolly Roger (see our episode on Flags) and what happens beyond the parrot and eyepatch. (Sounds like a pub!)

As always, click on the pics for more information and to be impressed (but not in the 'King's Shilling' way.)

The Pirate Code

Pirate Compensation

Women Pirates

Grace O'Malley

The most successful Pirate was a woman

Cheng I Sao had a large fleet of about 50,000 pirates, from 200 to 1800 ships controlling the South China Sea. She introduced, among her subordinates, several severe laws, which largely contributed to her successes at sea. According to the laws, thieving from the villagers or the communal reserves was considered a severe offence. Desertion and disobedience led to decapitation, and “sexual offences against female captives were also severely punished.” In the case of rape or even consensual sex, “the offending parties were put to death.”

What is a Privateer?

The Act of Grace

Execution Dock

Treasure Island

The Pirate Flag of Blackbeard

The hourglass represents time (as in your time is up), the "devil" represents the wickedness of the crew, the skeletonized figure represents death, the spear represents violence, the bleeding heart means "no quarter" meaning they will kill everyone on board. This flag literally means, "We are coming to kill you and not giving you time to prepare or make a decision. We are taking your stuff, and we are fighting and killing all aboard."

Yusuf Reis and his Hook

Originally named Jack Ward, this pirate took the name Birdy and later converted to Islam and took the name Yusuf Reis. His hook was the least remarkable part of his story. He is believed to be the pirate upon whom Cap'n Jack Sparrow is based.

Pirate food and drink

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Pirate Superstitions

Pirate Punishments

More Pirate Facts

Modern Piracy

In recording the episode, we discussed the Golden Age of Piracy but also researched a lot about modern piracy, which was, frankly, too gruesome and not family-friendly, so we edited it out.

If you'd like to know more about modern piracy, here's something about that.

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