The most famous pirates


Pirates are sea (or river) robbers. The word "pirate" (lat. Πειρατής, cognate with the word πειράω ("to try, test"). Thus, the meaning of the word will be "trying his luck."

Henry Morgan (1635-1688) became the most famous pirate in the world, enjoying a kind of fame. This man became famous not so much for his corsair's exploits, but for his activities as a commander and politician. Morgan's main merit was helping England to seize control of the entire Caribbean Sea. Since childhood, Henry was a fidget, which was reflected in his adult life. In a short time he managed to be a slave, gather his own gang of thugs and get his first ship. A lot of people were robbed along the way. While in the service of the queen, Morgan directed his energy to the destruction of the Spanish colonies, he did it perfectly. As a result, everyone recognized the name of the active sailor. But then the pirate suddenly decided to settle down - he got married, bought a house ... However, his violent temper took his toll, and in his spare time Henry realized that it was much more profitable to capture coastal cities than just rob ships. Morgan once used a clever move. On the way to one of the cities, he took a large ship and stuffed it to the top with gunpowder, sending it to the Spanish port at dusk. The huge explosion led to such a commotion that there was simply no one to defend the city. So the city was taken, and the local fleet was destroyed, thanks to the cunning of Morgan. Storming Panama, the commander decided to attack the city from land, letting the army go around the city. As a result, the maneuver was a success, the fortress fell. Morgan spent the last years of his life as Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. His whole life passed at a frantic pirate pace, with all the delights of alcohol befitting the occupation. Only rum won the gallant sailor - he died of liver cirrhosis and was buried as a nobleman. True, the sea took his ashes - the cemetery after the earthquake plunged into the sea.

Francis Drake (1540-1596) was born in England to a priest's family. The young man began his naval career as a cabin boy on a small merchant ship. It was there that the clever and observant Francis learned the art of sailing. Already at the age of 18, he received command of his own ship, which he inherited from the old captain. In those days, the queen blessed pirate raids, if only they were directed against the enemies of England. During one of these voyages, Drake fell into a trap, but, despite the death of 5 other English ships, he managed to save his ship. The pirate quickly became famous for his cruelty, and fortune fell in love with him. Trying to take revenge on the Spaniards, Drake begins to wage his own war against them - robbing their ships, cities. In 1572, he managed to capture the "Silver Caravan", which was carrying more than 30 tons of silver, which immediately made the pirate rich. An interesting feature of Drake was the fact that he not only sought to plunder more, but also to visit previously unknown places. As a result, many sailors were grateful to Drake for his work on clarifying and correcting the world map. With the queen's permission, the pirate set off on a secret expedition to South America, with the official version of Australia's exploration. The expedition was a great success. Drake maneuvered so cleverly, avoiding enemy traps, that he was able to travel around the world on his way home. On the way, he attacked Spanish settlements in South America, circled Africa and brought potato tubers home. The total profit from the campaign was unprecedented - more than half a million pounds sterling. Then it was twice the budget of the entire country. As a result, Drake was knighted on board the ship - an unprecedented event that has no analogues in history. The apogee of the pirate's greatness came at the end of the 16th century, when he took part as an admiral in the defeat of the Invincible Armada. Later, luck turned away from the pirate, during one of his subsequent voyages to the American shores, he fell ill with tropical fever and died.

Edward Teach (1680-1718) is better known by his nickname Blackbeard. It was because of this external attribute that Teach was considered a creepy fiend. The first mentions of the activities of this corsair date back only to 1717, what the Englishman was doing before that remained unknown. By indirect indications, one can guess that he was a soldier, but deserted and became a filibuster. Then he was already pirating, catching horror on people with his beard, which covered almost the entire face. Teach was very brave and courageous, which earned the respect of other pirates. He wicked wicks into his beard, which, smoking, terrified opponents. In 1716, Edward was given command of his sloop to conduct marque operations against the French. Teach soon seized the larger ship and made it his flagship, renaming it Queen Anne's Revenge. The pirate at this time acts in the Jamaica area, robbing everyone and recruiting new henchmen. By the beginning of 1718, there were already 300 people under the command of Teach. During the year, he managed to capture more than 40 ships. All pirates knew that a bearded man was hiding a treasure on one of the uninhabited islands, but no one found out exactly where. The pirate's atrocities against the British and the robbery of colonies by them forced the authorities to declare a hunt for Blackbeard. An impressive bounty was announced and Lieutenant Maynard was hired to hunt down Teach. In November 1718, the pirate was overtaken by the authorities and was killed during the battle. Teach's head was severed, and his body was suspended from a yard.

William Kidd (1645-1701). Born in Scotland not far from the docks, the future pirate from childhood decided to link his fate with the sea. In 1688, Kidd, being a simple sailor, survived a shipwreck near Haiti and was forced to become a pirate. In 1689, betraying his comrades-in-arms, William took possession of the frigate, calling it "Blessed William". With the help of a privateer patent, Kidd took part in the war against the French. In the winter of 1690, part of the team left him, and Kidd decided to settle down. He married a wealthy widow, taking possession of land and property. But the pirate's heart demanded adventure, and now, after 5 years, he is already a captain again. The powerful frigate "Brave" was intended to plunder, however, only the French. After all, the expedition was sponsored by the state, which did not need unnecessary political scandals. However, the sailors, seeing the paucity of profits, periodically revolted. The seizure of a rich ship with French goods did not save the situation. Fleeing from his former subordinates, Kidd surrendered to the British authorities. The pirate was taken to London, where he quickly became a bargaining chip in the struggle of political parties. Kidd was sentenced to death on charges of piracy and the murder of a ship's officer (who was the instigator of the mutiny). In 1701, the pirate was hanged, and his body hung in an iron cage over the Thames for 23 years, as a warning to the corsairs of imminent punishment.

Mary Read (1685-1721). From the very childhood, the girl was dressed in the clothes of a boy. So the mother tried to hide the death of her early deceased son. At the age of 15, Mary went to serve in the army. In the battles in Flanders, she, under the name Mark, showed miracles of courage, but she did not wait for advancement. Then the woman decided to join the cavalry, where she fell in love with her colleague. After the end of hostilities, the couple got married. However, the happiness did not last long, her husband died unexpectedly, Mary, having changed into men's clothes, became a sailor. The ship fell into the hands of the pirates, the woman was forced to join them, cohabiting with the captain. In battle, Mary wore a male uniform, participating in skirmishes along with everyone. Over time, the woman fell in love with an artisan who helped the pirates. They even got married and were about to end the past. But even here the happiness did not last long. A pregnant Reed was caught by the authorities. When she was caught along with other pirates, she said that she committed robberies against her will. However, other pirates showed that there was no one more decisive than Mary Reed in robbing ships and boarding. The court did not dare to hang the pregnant woman, she patiently waited for her fate in the Jamaica prison, not fearing a shameful death. But a strong fever finished her off earlier.

Olivier (François) le Wasser became the most famous French pirate. He was nicknamed "La Blues" or "buzzard". A Norman nobleman of noble birth was able to turn the island of Tortuga (now Haiti) into an impregnable fortress of filibusters. Initially, le Wasser was sent to the island to protect French settlers, but he quickly drove out the British (according to other sources - the Spaniards) and began to conduct his own policy. A talented engineer, the Frenchman designed an excellently fortified fortress. Le Wasser gave out as a filibuster very dubious documents on the right to hunt the Spaniards, taking the lion's share of the spoils for himself. In fact, he became the leader of the pirates, without taking direct part in the hostilities. When in 1643 the Spaniards were unable to take the island, being surprised to find the fortifications, the authority of le Wasser rose noticeably. He finally refused to obey the French and pay royalties to the crown. However, the spoiled character, tyranny and tyranny of the Frenchman led to the fact that in 1652 his own friends killed him. According to legend, le Wasser collected and hid the largest treasure of all time, worth 235 million pounds sterling in today's money. The information about the location of the treasure was kept in the form of a cryptogram on the governor's neck, but the gold was never found.

William Dampier (1651-1715) is often called not just a pirate, but also a scientist. After all, he made three whole voyages around the world, discovering many islands in the Pacific Ocean. Orphaned early, William chose the nautical path. At first he took part in trading voyages, and then he managed to make war. In 1674, the Englishman came to Jamaica as a trading agent, but his career in this capacity did not work out, and Dampier was forced to become a sailor of a merchant ship again. After exploring the Caribbean, William settled on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, on the Yucatan coast. Here he found friends in the form of runaway slaves and filibusters. Dampir's further life took place in the idea of ​​travel to Central America, plundering Spanish settlements on land and at sea. He sailed in the waters of Chile, Panama, New Spain. Dhampir almost immediately began taking notes of his adventures. As a result, in 1697 his book "A New Journey Around the World" was published, which made him famous. Dampier became a member of the most prestigious houses in London, entered the royal service and continued his research, writing a new book. However, in 1703, on an English ship, Dampier continued a series of robberies of Spanish ships and settlements in the Panama region. In 1708-1710, he took part as a navigator of the corsair round-the-world expedition. The works of the pirate scientist were so valuable to science that he is considered to be one of the fathers of modern oceanography.

Zheng Shi (1785-1844) is considered one of the most successful pirates. The scale of her actions will be evidenced by the facts that she commanded a fleet of 2,000 ships, on which more than 70 thousand sailors served. 16-year-old prostitute "Madame Jing" married the famous pirate Zheng Yi. After his death in 1807, the widow inherited a pirate fleet of 400 ships. The corsairs not only attacked merchant ships off the coast of China, but also swam deep into river estuaries, devastating coastal settlements. The emperor was so surprised by the actions of the pirates that he sent his fleet against them, but this did not have significant consequences. The key to Zheng Shi's success was the strictest discipline she established on the courts. She put an end to the traditional pirate freedoms - the robbery of allies and the rape of prisoners were punishable by death. However, as a result of the betrayal of one of her captains, a female pirate in 1810 was forced to conclude a truce with the authorities. Her further career took place as a maintainer of a brothel and a brothel for gambling. The history of the pirate woman is reflected in literature and cinema, there are many legends about her.

Edward Lau (1690-1724) is also known as Ned Lau. For most of his life, this man was engaged in petty theft. In 1719, his wife died in childbirth, and Edward realized that from now on nothing would tie him to the house. After 2 years, he became a pirate operating around the Azores, New England and the Caribbean. This time is considered the end of the century of piracy, but Lau became famous for the fact that in a short time he managed to capture more than a hundred ships, while showing a rare bloodthirstiness.

Uruj Barbarossa (1473-1518) became a pirate at the age of 16 after the Turks took over his home island of Lesvos. Already at the age of 20, Barbarossa became a merciless and courageous corsair. Escaping from captivity, he soon seized a ship for himself, becoming the leader. Urouj entered into an agreement with the Tunisian authorities, which allowed him to organize a base on one of the islands in exchange for a share of the booty. As a result, Urouge's pirate fleet terrorized all Mediterranean ports. Having got involved in politics, Urouj eventually became the ruler of Algeria under the name of Barbarossa. However, the fight against the Spaniards did not bring good luck to the Sultan - he was killed. His work was continued by his younger brother, known as Barbaross II.

Bartholomew Roberts (1682-1722). This pirate was one of the most successful and fortunate in history. It is believed that Roberts was able to capture over four hundred ships. At the same time, the cost of the extraction of the pirate amounted to more than 50 million pounds. And the pirate achieved such results in just two and a half years. Bartholomew was an unusual pirate - he was enlightened and loved to dress fashionably. Roberts was often seen in a burgundy vest and breeches, he wore a hat with a red feather, and a gold chain with a diamond cross hung on his chest. The pirate did not abuse alcohol at all, as was customary in this environment. Moreover, he even punished his sailors for drunkenness. We can say that it was Bartholomew, who was nicknamed "Black Bart" and was the most successful pirate in history. In addition, unlike Henry Morgan, he never cooperated with the authorities. And the famous pirate was born in South Wales. His naval career began as third mate on a slave ship. Roberts was responsible for looking after the "cargo" and its safety. However, after being captured by the pirates, the sailor himself was in the role of a slave. Nevertheless, the young European was able to please Captain Howell Davis, who had captured him, and he accepted him into his crew. And in June 1719, after the death of the leader of the gang during the storming of the fort, it was Roberts who led the team. He immediately captured the ill-fated city of Principe on the coast of Guinea and razed it to the ground. After going to sea, the pirate quickly captured several merchant ships. However, production off the African coast was scarce, which is why Roberts headed to the Caribbean in early 1720. The fame of the successful pirate overtook him, and the merchant ships were already shying away at the sight of the Black Bart's ship. In the north, Roberts sold African goods profitably. Throughout the summer of 1720 he was lucky - the pirate captured many ships, 22 of them right in the bays. However, even while engaging in robbery, Black Bart remained a devout man. He even managed to pray a lot in between murders and robberies. But it was this pirate who invented the cruel execution with the help of a board thrown over the side of the ship. The team loved their captain so much that they were ready to follow him even to the ends of the world.And the explanation was simple - Roberts was desperately lucky. At various times, he operated from 7 to 20 pirate ships. The teams included fugitive criminals and slaves of various nationalities who called themselves the "House of Lords". And the name Black Bart terrified the entire Atlantic.

Jack Rackham (1682-1720). And this famous pirate had the nickname Calico Jack. The fact is that he loved to wear calico pants, which were brought from India. And although this pirate was not the cruellest or most fortunate, he managed to become famous. The fact is that there were two women in Rackham's team at once, dressed in men's clothes - Mary Reed and Anne Boni. Both of them were the pirate's mistresses. Thanks to this fact, as well as the courage and courage of his ladies, the Rackham team became famous. But luck changed him when in 1720 his ship met the ship of the governor of Jamaica. At that time, the entire pirate team was dead drunk. To escape pursuit, Rackham ordered to cut the anchor. However, the military were able to catch up and take him after a short fight. The pirate captain, along with his entire crew, was hanged in Jamaica, in Port Royal. Before his death, Rackham asked for a date with Anne Boni. But she herself refused him this, stating that if the pirate had fought like a man, he would not have died like a dog. It is said that it is John Rackham who is the author of the famous pirate symbol - the skull and bones, "Jolly Roger".

Jean Lafitte (? -1826). This famous corsair was also a smuggler. With the tacit consent of the government of the young American state, he calmly plundered the ships of England and Spain in the Gulf of Mexico. The heyday of the pirate's activities fell on the 1810s. It is not known where or when exactly Jean Lafitte was born. It is possible that he was a native of Haiti and was an undercover Spanish agent. It was said that Lafite knew the Gulf Coast better than most cartographers. It was known for certain that he sold the stolen goods through his brother, a merchant, who lived in New Orleans. The Lafites illegally supplied slaves to the southern states, but thanks to their guns and people, the Americans were able to defeat the British in 1815 at the Battle of New Orleans. In 1817, under pressure from the authorities, a pirate settled on the Texas island of Galveston, where he even founded his own state of Campeche. Lafitte continued to supply slaves as well, using intermediaries for this. But in 1821, one of his captains personally attacked a plantation in Louisiana. And although Lafitte was an impudent order, the authorities ordered him to sink his ships and leave the island. The pirate has only two ships left from the once whole fleet. Then Lafitte with a group of his followers settled on the island of Isla Mujeres near the coast of Mexico. Even then, he did not attack the American ships. And after 1826 there is no information about the valiant pirate. In Louisiana itself, there are still legends about Captain Lafitte. And in the city of Lake Charles, even "Smuggler Days" are held in his memory. A nature reserve near the coast of Barataria is even named after the pirate. And in 1958 Hollywood even released a film about Lafitte, played by Yul Brynner.

Thomas Cavendish (1560-1592). Pirates not only plundered ships, but also were brave travelers, discovering new lands. In particular, Cavendish was the third sailor who decided to travel around the world. He spent his youth in the English fleet. Thomas led such a stormy life that he quickly let go of all the inheritance he inherited. And in 1585 he left the service and went to rich America for his share of the booty. He returned to his homeland rich. Easy money and the help of fortune made Cavendish choose the path of a pirate to gain fame and fortune. On July 22, 1586, Thomas sailed from Plymouth to Sierra Leone at the head of his own flotilla. The expedition aimed to find new islands, study winds and currents. However, this did not prevent to engage in parallel and outright robbery. At the first stop in Sierra Leone, Cavendish, along with 70 sailors, robbed local settlements. A successful start allowed the captain to dream of future exploits. On January 7, 1587, Cavendish passed through the Strait of Magellan and then headed north along the coast of Chile. Before him, only one European passed this way - Francis Drake. The Spaniards controlled this part of the Pacific Ocean, generally calling it the Spanish Lake. The rumor of the British pirates forced the garrisons to gather. But the Englishman's flotilla was worn out - Thomas found a quiet bay for repairs. The Spaniards did not wait, finding the pirates during the raid. However, the British not only repulsed the attack of the superior forces, but also put them to flight and immediately plundered several neighboring settlements. Two ships went further. On June 12 they reached the equator and until November the pirates were waiting for the "treasury" ship with all the proceeds of the Mexican colonies. Perseverance was rewarded, and the British captured a lot of gold and jewelry. However, when dividing the booty, the pirates fell out, and Cavendish was left with one ship. With him he went to the west, where robbery got a load of spices. On September 9, 1588, Cavendish's ship returned to Plymouth. The pirate not only became one of the first to sail around the world, but also did it very quickly - in 2 years and 50 days. In addition, 50 people from his team returned with the captain. This record turned out to be so significant that it held out for more than two centuries.


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