Scurvy Facts

Scurvy & Scary Facts
About Being A Pirate

The life of a pirate wasn’t always full of adventure and partying, matey. Sailing is a slow way to get around so pirates could be at sea for many months, which meant life was sometimes really, really boring... plus the grub they ate was often revolting. 

They'd collect fresh food and drink when they landed, but because they didn’t have fridges, freezers, or even cans of Baked Beans, the food had to be eaten quickly. In fact, if a ship had been at sea for a few months chances are that all the pirates had to eat were stale, dry crackers covered in weevils. YUCK! 

Plus not eating enough good food often made them sick. Scurvy was common, due to a lack of vitamin C (found in lemons, limes and oranges). Pirates knew they'd got it when their teeth started falling out, their skin went pale, their legs got very fat and they had to keep racing off to the toilet. If, on the other hand, they only had a stomach ache and spent all their time going to the toilet, they probably had Dysentery.

Another common disease on a pirate ship was Gangrene. If a cut on yer arm or leg got infected and the skin started to die - that was Gangrene. YUCK! but not as yuck as the only way to stay alive then was to saw off the arm or leg. Or what about Yellow Fever? Ye got that from mosquitoes and it gave ye a high fever. Some pirates got better from it, others just vomited black blood and died. 

See, matey, I told you a pirate’s life wasn’t always fun! The other revolting bit is what happened to them when they got caught AND if you get nightmares don’t read this next bit!

If a pirate was caught by the Navy, charged and found guilty he was usually hanged on the gallows in front of a large crowd. Then, if the Government were really fed up with pirates and wanted to put others off becoming one, they'd put his body in a metal cage (the same shape as him) and leave it hanging outside until it was all eaten by the birds and animals. Or, sometimes, after a pirate had been hanged, he might be decapitated (meaning his head was cut off) and his head stuck on a stick where lots of people could see it.

EWW! That’s truly gross. Even weevily biscuits sound better after that! So do ye still want to be a pirate, me hearty?

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