Pirate Facts

True Pirate Facts

The Jolly Roger flag, with its black background and white skull and crossbones, was designed to be scary. Aye, but it wasn't used by all pirates, usually only those sailing the Spanish Main.

Did ye know that pirates wore pierced earrings because they believed it would improve their eyesight? They also believed that having women on board their ship was bad luck and that whistling on a ship would cause the weather to turn stormy (as in ‘to whistle up a storm’).

To make their life easier, pirates would often take over island ports and make them a safe haven for pirates. 
Also, to lessen the chance of them being captured, if it looked like it might be a possibility, captains would immediately change out of their expensive, flashy clothes. This way they could pretend they were only one of the crew (not somebody important) and then hopefully escape.

Almost all their ships were stolen too, not bought - pirates wouldn’t buy them incase they got caught, were sent to jail and had their ship taken off them.
However, once they'd taken over a ship, they did have to convert it for pirate life. Aye, this, amongst other things, usually meant making more room for all the sailors to live on board and strengthening the decks so they could hold the weight of the heavy cannons.

Although pirates have been around primarily since the 15th century, matey, did ye know most pirating happened between 1690 and 1720? It all happened so long ago yet even now on the Caribbean island of St Thomas you'll find a place called ‘Black Beard’s Castle’. This, it's believed, is where the famous pirate spent many hours looking out for approaching ships.

Over all these years, other sailors (the ones that weren't pirates) often used to protect themselves and their ships from capture and attack by sailing close to warships or joining convoys of ships. After all, me hearty, pirates could really only attack one ship at a time, therefore if the sailors traveled in groups there was less chance of their boat being the one that was attacked.

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