As hard as it is to believe, pirates actually existed. They are part of a lot of tales and legends that many of which were inspired by real people that lived their lives through piracy.

Piracy can be defined as the practice of organized maritime looting, so basically, these people lived in the sea where they attacked other ships to steal their treasures, merchandise, slaves, and sometimes even the boat itself. Pirates were pretty popular during the Modern Age, from the XVII to the late XVIII century, when the Gold Age of Piracy left some remarkable names that we are going to talk about next.


10. Edward England (1685-1721)

via Wikiwand

Edward England adopted the Jolly Roger on his ships the Pearl and the Fancy, but he was known for his non-violence nature. ‘The Merciful Pirate’ entered into this world after his ship was taken on a trip from Jamaica to Providence and he gained the confidence of the pirates. He was exiled to Africa where he did most of his attacks, but then he ended up being abandoned in Madagascar where he died poor and in begging.


9. William Kidd (1645-1701)

via Culturizando

Captain William Kidd was a very particular pirate since he was never seen as a proper pirate. He even was called ‘the worst pirate’ since some historians state that he was more a privateer, however, he was known for being a cruel and bloodthirsty man. First, he hunted pirates, but then his crew changed to be full of smugglers that worked with him to pillage ships that were against British Marines. He was the pirate with most charges and left hundreds of treasures around the world that are still being searched for many before his body was left hanging on the Thames river.


8.Ching Shih (1775-1844)

via El Blog Insostenible

Piracy wasn’t just a thing for men. Ching Shih was one of the most famous female pirates along with Anne Bonny. Shih arrived in this world after she was kidnapped by other pirates when they met her in a brothel where she worked as a prostitute. She then became an important figure in the seas of China and had one of the biggest crews in history after she took the charge of the Red Flag Float when the previous captain died. However, she didn’t die in the sea, she ended up running another brothel before she died in 1844.


7. Charles Vane (1680-1721)

via Greelane

Charles Vane loved to meet and have feasts with other fellow pirates like Blackbeard, but he didn’t respect the code at all. Like many other raiders, he was cruel, but he didn’t keep the deals he promised and betrayed anyone that crossed his path. He ended up being hanged after his ship, The Ranger, sank and another ship came to his rescue thinking he was someone else. Maybe if this wouldn’t have happened, he would never be caught since he was very slippery when someone was trying to get him.


6. Bartholomew Roberts (1682-1722)

via Wikipedia

Bartholomew Roberts was one of the most important pirates ever, he worked with another famous pirate called Howell Davis, but he was known for imposing a series of rules on his crew like respecting women, not being a drinker, and having a proper education. Black Bart, as he was known in the Seven Seas, did more than 400 plunders across the waters in Africa and the Caribbean. He was seen as invincible, he killed anyone in his ship who didn’t follow the rules, and the many deaths that were on his back cost him that the British government chased him and killed him to then throw his body down the rail.

5. Jack Rackham (1682-1720)

via ThoughtCo

Jack Rackham – also known as Calico Jack – didn’t have many important lootings, but he left a legacy for the world after he designed the typical black flag with a skull and two bones crossing under it a.k.a the Jolly Roger. He mainly acted in Cuba and the Bahamas and was known for his extravagant clothes and handsome looks. He was caught and jailed by the British government in Jamaica. He showed no resistance and like most pirates, he died hanged. His crew was best known for having the presence of Anne Bonny, and also Mary Read, which was special to have two females on board.


4. Mary Read (1685-1721)

via Archivo de la Historia

Like her partner in crime Anne Bonny, she was accused of her crimes and sentenced to death. Mary Read became part of Jack Rackham’s crew, but she was recruited as a man until she had to confess her true gender. Read was tough when it came to battle, she was so agile and nobody wanted to fight against her. She was caught along with Rackham and Bonny, but she died of a fever before she was hanged. But there are some theories that said that her family was wealthy and managed to take her to South Carolina where she started from scratch with a new identity.


3. Anne Bonny

via Pirate Ship Vallarta

Along with Mary Read, Anne Bonny was the only woman who was sentenced for her delinquency activities. She also maintained a relationship with Calico Jack after she sneaked into his boat and pretended to be a man before she was dared to a duel and she distracted her nemesis with her breasts. Bonny escaped her fancy and comfortable life to become a feared and violent woman that everyone in the sea respected. Though she was madly in love with Rackham, she was pretty angry at him when both of them were caught and he didn’t fight back.


2. Henry Every (1659-?)

via History of Yesterday

Henry Every made an impact in pirate’s history since he became the richest man alive after he managed to do the biggest looting known yet. ‘The King of Pirates’ stole the ship of Aurangzeb, an emperor from India, and his action contributed to the United Kingdom’s exterior economy. Despite this, he was chased for a long time and had an international hunt warrant, but he was never found to this date. Nobody knows what happened to Henry Every after he escaped with a fortune, or even about his true identity before the pillaging.


1. Edward Teach (1680-1718)

via History

You may know Edward Teach better as ‘Blackbeard‘. He was and still is the most feared pirate ever. He used to wear his characteristic black beard in braids and everyone knew about his crimes. Blackbeard had no mercy, his vest was full of pistols and knives that he used in combat with a lot of skills or when he decided to kill somebody. This man terrorized the Caribbean Sea while captaining Queen Anne’s Revenge, but his kingdom of truants ended after a battle with more than 20 men until he couldn’t fight back.

These people had incredible and adventurous lives though most of them died tragically executed, in the sea, or forgotten in islands. Being a pirate wasn’t an easy task, you had to be brave, fearless, and have no mercy against anyone that tried to mess you up. They lived on the run but they sure had a courteous life full of crime and mischief that brought to them consequences later.