Famous pirates — everything you need to know about them

Pirates will live on the waves of bravado in the Caribbean and beyond, whether for renown, misplaced fame, or cruelty. Everyone had a brief period of success in their respective waters, which was usually fleeting. So, there have been many famous pirates.

Famous pirates in history

William Kidd

Captain Kidd started his career as a privateer. He rid the seas of pirates.

Also, he was a stylish Scotsman who had been a prominent citizen of New York City, actively involved in the construction of Trinity Church.

Again, he entered the world of piracy reluctantly(after the crew elected him as pirate captain). Although people sensationalized his piracy, it was in fact questionable.

Attacking an East India Company vessel was his greatest misfortune.

Ultimately, he was apprehended in Boston with his wife. To stand trial William Kidd was deported to England.

Ultimately he was sentenced to death, and received a dreadful execution. He was hung by a noose which broke twice, and his body was doused in tar. Finally, he was killed on the third hanging and hung by chains along the Thames River.

Edward Teach “Blackbeard”

Despite the fact that there have been more successful pirates, Blackbeard is one of the most well-known and feared of his era. He commanded four ships and a pirate army of 300 men. Then, he defeated the famous warship HMS “Scarborough” in a sea battle. He was known for charging into battle with two swords, as well as several knives and pistols. He captured over forty merchant ships in the Caribbean and killed a large number of prisoners without hesitation. Though he had a slew of unofficial wives, he “officially” married a 16-year-old girl. He allegedly gave the girl to his crew as a gift after she attempted to reform him.

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Ultimately the Royal Navy overtook and beheaded after a fierce battle in which he made a stand with candle smoke rising from his beard. After his death the Navy placed his head on a stake as a warning to other pirates in the area of the Hampton River in Virginia.

Bartholomew Roberts “Black Bart”

Roberts’ crew admired his daring personality, dubbing him “pistol proof”. This was despite the fact that he was forced into piracy after serving as an officer on a ship captured by pirate Howell Davis. Roberts’ navigational skills, charisma, and bravado painted him golden in the eyes of his men. In all of his exploits, he plundered over 400 ships, a colossal feat, and commanded well armoured ships. Ultimately, he was killed in a fierce battle with British Captain Chaloner Ogle. His death shocked many of his devoted followers and admirers. Even the Royal Navy was taken aback.

Henry Every “Long Ben”

Every began his naval career in the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. In 1693, he joined a venture known as the Spanish Expedition Shipping after serving on various ships. Through mutiny, he rose to the rank of a pirate captain, becoming one of the most feared and successful pirates in the Red Sea. He didn’t capture many ships, but the two he did were among the best in the Indian Ocean (one of them being India’s treasure ship, laden with gold and jewels). Every retired due to his vast wealth (he was the world’s richest pirate), but he was still hunted far and wide. His true whereabouts at the time of his death are still unknown.

Anne Bonney

Anne fell in love and married a poor sailor named James Bonny after travelling to the New World with her family. When she became dissatisfied with her husband’s lack of bravery, she began seeking out the company of a variety of men in Nassau. “Calico Jack” Rackham, the captain of a pirate ship, was one of these men. She joined his crew while pretending to be a man (including drinking and fighting profusely). As a result, she fought under his command, and she coaxed the crew into even more bloodshed and violence, becoming a formidable pirate herself, along with fellow female pirate Mary Read. She was, however, apprehended with Rackham’s crew and sentenced to death.

She and Mary Read both claimed to be pregnant while incarcerated. Therefore their death sentences were not carried out (Mary had the misfortune of dying in prison). No one knows how the famous female pirate died. However, it is rumored she died after returning home to her husband or father.

Famous pirates names

There are some famous pirates in the world. We have given the names below.


Ching Shih

Sir Francis Drake

Black Sam Bellamy

Bartholomew Roberts

Captain Kidd

Anne Bonny and Mary Read

Famous pirates of the caribbean

Imagine that 300 years ago, when you were vacationing or enjoying a luxury yacht charter on the calm Caribbean Sea, the most notorious gangsters of the seas sailed these same waters, dropping hooks in the same coves.

Jean-David Nau, aka François l’Olonnais

Nau is widely regarded as one of the Caribbean’s most ruthless and barbaric pirates. Nau arrived in Martinique as an indentured servant child from France. Following his time in captivity, Nau moved to Hispaniola and joined the Buccaneers. Nau got command of his own ship after gaining favour with the French Governor of Tortuga. But something happened after the French government sanctioned him to attack Spanish enemies. He developed an insatiable bloodlust and a penchant for torture. His reign of terror lasted well into times of peace between France and Spain.

Bartholomew Roberts, aka Black Bart

He is regarded as one of the most successful pirates of all time. Undoubtedly he was a successful pirate, capturing more than 200 ships and loot worth millions of dollars by today’s standards. However, the term “successful” is debatable given that his career lasted only two and a half years before ending violently.

“Red Legs” Greaves

Greaves was born to Scottish slaves on the island of Barbados and became a pirate after stowing away on a ship owned by a notoriously cruel pirate named Captain Hawkins in a desperate attempt to flee. The captain threatened Greaves as he refused to torture a prisoner. Soon a fight ensued, during which Greaves killed the captain and the crew immediately him elected as the new captain. Despite being forced to do so, Greaves quickly adapted to his new role as a pirate.

Henry Jennings

Henry Jennings started out as a legitimate privateer operating out of Jamaica, but after the Treaty of Utrecht, he struggled to change his ways. A Spanish fleet carrying exotic goods, silver, and gold sank in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715.  Pirates were not known for their salvage skills, therefore Jennings waited for the perfect moment. After the Spanish recovered the treasure Jennings seized the massive sum of money.

Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard

Teach was born in Bristol, England, and worked as a privateer in the Caribbean. Teach converted a captured warship into a pirate ship he named Queen Anne’s Revenge and continued his reign of terror along the US eastern seaboard and throughout the Caribbean after Queen Anne’s War ended.

Famous pirates

Famous pirates movies

Pirate movies are very famous. Some famous pirate movies are:

Muppet Treasure Island

The Goonies

Peter Pan

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of Penzance

Blackbeard’s Ghost

The Black Swan

The Pirates: Band of Misfits

The Sea Hawk

Captain Phillips

Swallows and Amazons

The Princess Bride

The Crimson Pirate

Treasure Island

Famous pirates with eye patches

Edward Lowe

Edward Lowe was born in London, England, in the Westminster district. Lowe grew tired of pickpocketing and thievery as he grew older, and he moved to Boston. He worked as a rigger for a while, but in May 1722, he joined a gang of men on a sloop bound for Honduras, where they planned to steal a shipment of logs to sell in Boston.

Lowe and his companions were forced to leave the boat after a failed mutiny. Lowe led the gang in capturing a small sloop the next day, declaring himself a pirate and vowing to “go in here, make a black Flag, and declare war against all the world.”

Thomas Tew

When Tew was a child, his family relocated to Rhode Island. Tew pioneered the route that became known as the Pirate Round, despite only embarking on two major piratical voyages and dying a bloody death on the latter. Many other famous pirates would follow in Tew’s footsteps, including Henry Every and William Kidd. Tew’s first attack was in the Red Sea in late 1693, when he ran down a large ship en route from India to the Ottoman Empire. Despite having a garrison of 300 soldiers, the Indian ship surrendered without a fight, with no casualties among the attackers.

Tew’s pirates seized to the ship’s valuable treasure. The estimated worth of the treasure was £100,000 in gold and silver alone. In addition this whooping amount is not including the ivory, spices, jewels, and silk taken.

Bartholomew Roberts

Between 1719 and 1722, Bartholomew Roberts, also known as Bart Roberts, was a Welsh pirate who raided ships off the coasts of the Americas and West Africa. He was the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, capturing far more ships than some of the most famous pirates of the time, including Blackbeard and Captain Kidd.

Edward England

From 1717 to 1720, Edward England, born Edward Seegar in Ireland, was a well-known African coast and Indian Ocean pirate. The Pearl and later the Fancy, for which England exchanged the Pearl in 1720, were among the ships he sailed on. On a black background, he flew the classic Jolly Roger with a skull above two crossed thigh bones.

Henry Morgan

Morgan was a Welsh privateer who made a name for himself as a buccaneer leader in the Caribbean. He was a well-known and successful privateer in England. Morgan was tasked in 1667 with capturing some Spanish prisoners in Cuba in order to learn more about the impending attack on Jamaica. Morgan landed on the island with ten ships and 500 men, captured and sacked Puerto Principe, and then proceeded to take the fortified and well-garrisoned town of Portobelo, Panama. Morgan’s men are said to have used captured Jesuits as human shields while capturing the third and most difficult fortress.

Famous pirates birth year

The ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ in America is widely regarded as occurring between 1689 and 1718. Successful pirates, many of whom began their careers as privateers, were able to prey on merchant’s vessels as shipping across the Atlantic and in the Caribbean increased.

We have listed the birth year of some pirates.

William Kidd (1645-1701)

Edward Teach “Blackbeard” (1680-1718)

Bartholomew Roberts “Black Bart” (1682-1722)

Henry Every “Long Ben” (1653- unknown)

Anne Bonny (1700-1782)

Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688)

Francois l’Olonnais (1635-1668)

Sir Francis Drake (1540-1595)

Cheung Pao Tsai (early 1800s – mid 1800s)

Ching Shih (1785-1844)

Famous pirates for kids

Pirates are very famous among kids. Some pirates who are the most famous among children are:

Anne Bonny

Captain William Kidd

John Rackham

Mary Read

John Bartholomew Roberts

Edward “Blackbeard” Teach

Famous pirates of all time

Sir Henry Morgan

Captain Morgan is one of the most well-known pirates of the late 1600s who terrorised Spain’s Caribbean colonies. Morgan became the head of the Jamaican fleet and successfully undermined Spanish rule, disrupting normalcy in the West Indies. Morgan was quietly sanctioned by England. Over the course of his piracy career, he may have pillaged over 400 ships. His greatest achievement was capturing Panama City, a wealthy city, with thirty ships and 1,200 men, resulting in the largest plunder he had ever amassed. Soldiers arrested Morgan and brought him back to England as a result of his raid on Panama City. When the battle between England and Spain resumed, King Charles II knighted Morgan and appointed him as deputy governor of Jamaica. Until his death, people respected him as a planter in that area.

Famous pirates

Francois l’Olonnais

l’Olonnais began his life as a poor man working as an indentured servant on a plantation in America. Following his conversion to piracy, the Frenchman became known for his ruthlessness toward his victims, as well as his success in raiding numerous towns (he was one of the most successful pirates on land attacks) and capturing numerous ships. The town of Maracaibo, Venezuela, was one of his most successful plunders, where he ravaged and stole his way into historical infamy, gaining some 200,000 Spanish dollars. He is said to have eaten the heart of a Spanish soldier during one of his many attacks, indicating that he had a sadistic, bloodthirsty streak. His own death, on the other hand, was equally gruesome.

L’Olonnais and his crew were unable to free their ship from a sandbar off the coast of Panama. They were captured and devoured by the local tribe after venturing onto land in search of food.

Famous pirates

Sir Francis Drake

Captain Drake, the most famous privateer of his time, sacked the Spanish army several times, often on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I herself. Spain, his lifelong and most vehement foe, suffered repeated devastation as he systematically sacked and plundered Spanish cities off the Florida coast. He also sailed to North America, where he claimed new land for Queen Elizabeth on the Pacific coast, making him the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. He even rescued the failed English colonists of Roanoke Island off the coast of the Carolinas and transported them to England on his ship. Drake died off the coast of Panama from dysentery after a long and illustrious career.

Famous pirates

Cheung Po Tsai

Cheung Po Tsai was a fisherman’s son who was kidnapped and adopted by a pirate and his wife, eventually becoming a pirate himself. At the height of his “career,” he commanded an army of over 50,000 men and several hundred ships (Caribbean pirates seem to pale in comparison). He terrorised the Guangdong coastline, amassing vast sums of money, which he stashed in a small cave that bears his name today. Eventually the Chinese government apprehended him, but he made a deal with them and enlisted as a captain in the Qing Imperial Navy. Ultimately,he was promoted to colonel and spent the remainder of his career assisting the Chinese government in the capture of other pirates.

Famous pirates

Ching Shih

Ching Shih, also known as Cheng I Sao, is not only the most successful but also the most fascinating of all female pirates. After her husband, the pirate Cheng, died, she gained equality with him and took over his business. Cheung Po Tsai, her adopted son and her husband’s second-in-command, was appointed captain of her fleet (which equalled that of all the other most successful pirates combined). Captain Sao, a former prostitute, commanded over 1,500 ships and 80,000 men, robbing and taxing towns and plundering ships along the South China Sea coast while enforcing a strict code of conduct on her men. Chang Pao, her adopted son, was also married to her.

She accepted the Chinese government’s offer of universal pirate amnesty in exchange for peace. Her pirates, on the other hand, were given military jobs and allowed to keep their loot. She spent the last 69 years of her life with her husband running a casino and brothel.

Famous pirates

Famous pirates FAQs

Who was the most ruthless pirate of all time?

For two years, Blackbeard terrorised the coasts of North America and the Caribbean. He was the most feared pirate during the Golden Age of Piracy, plundering many ships and murdering many sailors. In 1718, the British army ambushed and killed Blackbeard.

Is Captain Jack Sparrow a true pirate?

Although Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean may be the worst pirate you’ve ever heard of, he is based on the real-life legendary pirate John Ward.

Which female pirate was the most feared?

Anne Bonny – Anne Bonny is at the top of the list, and she is arguably the most famous female pirate of the Golden Age. She was a member of Calico Jack’s crew, along with Mary Read, but it is said that the two women fought more skillfully than any of the men on board.

Who was the last surviving pirate?

Bartholomew Roberts, the last great pirate of the Golden Age, pillaged over 400 ships.

Is it true that pirates still exist?

Piracy in the twenty-first century (also known as modern piracy) has occurred in a variety of locations around the world, including the Gulf of Guinea, the Strait of Malacca, the Sulu and Celebes Seas, the Indian Ocean, and the Falcon Lake.

Which country has the greatest number of pirates?

Indonesia’s 17,500 islands and surrounding waters are now the most heavily pirated in the world.

Which ocean has the greatest number of pirates?

According to the latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau, the Gulf of Guinea will remain the world’s piracy hotspot in 2021.

When it came to bathing, how did pirates do it?

The only option for pirates was to bathe in seawater.

What was the name of the first female pirate?

Rachel Wall (née Schmidt), who was born in Pennsylvania in 1760, is thought to be the first American female pirate.

What were the pirates’ favourite foods?

On long voyages, dried foods like beans, pulses, and sea biscuits, as well as salted meat and pickled vegetables and fruit, were the mainstays.

What did pirates get up to during the day?

The main source of income for pirates was stealing from others.

What diseases did pirates contract?

Pirates would have to deal with a variety of diseases, including scurvy, which is caused by a lack of vitamins in the diet, yellow fever, malaria, gangrene, and even dysentery.

About the Author: mike

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