Were there female pirates? | Royal Museums Greenwich
Throughout history, there have been dramatic tales of women sailing the oceans. Many of these stories begin from the Golden Age of Piracy (1650 to 1720), but there are accounts of female pirates dating back thousands of years. In this article, we’ll explore the lives of some of the notable pirates prowling our oceans.
Were women allowed on board ships?
Historically, women were not allowed to remain on ships once they had set sail. Old-fashioned sailor superstitions thought that women on merchant and military vessels were bad luck and could spell disaster at sea.
Mariners believed the presence of women would anger the water gods, which might cause storms, violent waves and weather. Another assumption was that women would prove distracting amongst the male sailors during the long periods spent at sea and would be subject to harassment and even violence.
Seafaring professions were barred to women until the 20th Century. A woman could disguise herself as a man and assume a fake name, but her career would be over once discovered. The only way for most women to participate in the running of a merchant vessel before 1900 was through their relations or marriage.
It is only recently that women were allowed at sea within the British Royal Navy. In October 1990, during the Gulf War, the HMS Brilliant carried the first women officially to serve on an functioning warship. In 1998, Commander Samantha Moore became one of the first female officers to command a Royal Navy warship, HMS Dasher.
Were women allowed to be pirates?
The superstitions and customs that existed for military and commercial vessels also held for pirates. Historically, women who remained on ships at sea would have to do so illicitly and in disguise.
They would also need to learn the vital skills necessary for a seafaring life prior to setting sail. Without this education, it would have proved very challenging to be a female sailor, let alone a pirate.
As engaging in piracy is a criminal act, becoming a pirate would mean dealing with the possibility of arrest and even death. It was a decision people did not make lightly. While historically, pirates are often portrayed as swashbuckling heroes or villains, many were ordinary people — men and women forced into piracy to survive difficult times.
10 female pirates you should know
Queen Teuta of Illyria
Teuta (fl. third century BC) was a queen regent of the Ardiaei, a group of Illyrian tribes (based in modern-day Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia). After the death of her husband, King Agron of the Ardiaei, Teuta ruled in his stead. She was known for supporting the plunder and raids of her subjects on Roman and Greek ships and coastal settlements.
When asked to cease her hostile activities by two Roman ambassadors, Teuta is said to have replied:
«it was never the custom of royalty to prevent the advantage of its subjects they could get from the sea.»
The two envoys were later imprisoned and executed. Rome declared war on the Ardiaei in 229 BC which ended in her surrender two years later. Rome allowed her to continue ruling but announced that no warship should sail under her command.
Aethelflaed (c. 870 – 12 June 918) was known as «the Lady of the Mercians» and was the first woman to rule an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Appearing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, she became the military leader and chief strategist of the Anglo-Saxons after her husband’s death in battle with the Vikings in 911. She is recognised as playing a vital role in defeating the Viking raiders and reconquering English lands lost to Danish pirates.
Aethelflaed by Luke Perry (2018) Steel statue outside Tamworth Railway Station, erected to commemorate 1,100 years since her death in Tamworth. Her spear points visitors towards the town centre and Castle. © Philip Halling
Ladgerda (also spelt Lagertha) was a Danish Viking pirate, said to have lived in the 9th Century AD.
She was known as a shieldmaiden — Viking women who carry a sword and shield, known for their ferocity and skills in battle on land and sea.
With only a few accounts of her life known to exist (most of what we know about her is recorded in Saxo Grammaticus’ 13th-century work Gesta Danorum), there is controversy amongst historians whether Ladgerda is, in fact, a legendary figure and a substitute for the actions of a group of women.
One story suggests that she rescued her husband’s fleet from a warring tribe but on saving him, murdered him with a concealed knife and took his place as the leader of the tribe.
Jeanne de Clisson
de Clisson (1300–1359) was a Breton noblewoman who raided ships for the French and later the English during the Hundred Years’ War.
After her husband was tried and executed for treason (a verdict de Clisson thought was false), she switched sides and fought with the English, raiding French castles, as well as merchant and military vessels.
Legend has it that de Clisson was given three warships which she painted black and named her flagship, «My Revenge». de Clisson spent thirteen years plundering French vessels and was thought to be quite brutal, leaving few sailors alive. For this, she earned the moniker «The Lioness of Brittany.»
Sayyida al-Hurra (1485 – 14 July 1561), whose name translates as «Lady who is free and independent», was a queen of Tétouan (an area of Northern Morocco) in 1515–1542 and known for her pirate activities against the rapidly growing empires of Spain and Portugal.
Working alongside Oruç Reis, the governor of Algiers and a known pirate, al-Hurra dominated the Mediterranean sea while Reis controlled the Eastern. She later also married King Ahmed al-Wattasi of Morocco but was deposed in 1542 by her son-in-law. She lived the remainder of her life in exile.
Lady Mary Killigrew
Another fearsome pirate of the Elizabethan era, Mary Wolverston, or Lady Killigrew (before 1525 – after 1587) was known for her pirate activities along the Cornish coast. Mary was the daughter of a Lord Phillip Wolverton, a former pirate. She later married Sir Henry Killigrew, a pirate who was later made a Vice-Admiral by Queen Elizabeth I.
While Henry was employed to uphold maritime law, some ex-pirates were engaged as «privateers,» sailing under the favour of the crown to amass illicit profits for England. Mary was known to be a champion of her husband’s criminal activities. She redesigned their home at Arwenak castle to hide stolen goods, cut deals with smugglers, and raided ships.
It is thought that the Queen turned a blind eye to this and even pardoned her in later life.
Grace O’Malley (a. 1530 — 1603) was a formidable Irish pirate and a decisive leader who successfully defended her lands against both English governance and other hostile Irish clans. O’Malley was the daughter of a chieftain and was educated in seafaring by her father. Upon his death, she took to the seas (even giving birth to her first child while aboard a vessel).
As the English began occupying Ireland, O’Malley fortified important coastal defences and offered her support to Irish rebels. She even met with Queen Elizabeth I in September 1594 at Greenwich Castle where they created a treaty in Latin.
Discover more about Grace O’Malley
Mary Read & Anne Bonny
Mary Read (1685 – 28 April 1721) was an English pirate who, along with her crewmate Anne Bonny, became a legendary female pirate.
Mary’s mother was a widow who dressed her as a boy to collect money from the family of her dead husband. She eventually joined the British Army disguised as a boy. She married a Flemish soldier who knew of her disguise, but when he died, Mary found herself penniless. When aboard a ship heading to the West Indies, they were attacked by pirates. On proving her skills, she joined them.
Eventually, Mary found herself aboard the ship of the infamous pirate, Calico Jack Rackham alongside Anne Bonny. According to the legend, Mary became the lover of both Rackham and Bonny. When the three were captured in 1720, Mary and Anne were able to delay their hanging because both were pregnant. However, Mary fell ill in prison, and she died in 1721.
It is thought Delahaye was born around 1630 in Haiti, though there is no evidence to her birth and many of the stories seem to originate from 1940s writer, Léon Treich. Legend has it that the British navy killed her father, and her mother died during childbirth. As she was destitute, she joined up with a pirate crew and later commanded a fleet of ships.
With striking red hair and the legendary status of surviving many dangerous encounters, she was given the nickname «Back From The Dead Red.»
Ching Shih (1775–1844) is known as the most successful pirates in history. Beginning life in a Cantonese brothel in the Chinese Empire, Shih later married Zheng Yi, commander of «The Red Fleet,» a fleet of pirate vessels that sailed under a red flag.
After the death of her husband, Shih came to amass and rule over history’s largest pirate fleet. Her 1200-strong armada (with a whole crew of over 70,000 men) dominated over the South China Sea, battling domestic and foreign empires (China, Portugal and England) to retain control.
Shih is also known for her strict policies and harsh punishments for disobeying orders — from beheadings to cutting off ears. For crimes of rape or unsolicited lootings (something often associated with pirates), the sentence was also death.
Seemingly unstoppable, Ching Shih was granted a pardon in later life by the Chinese Emperor, retaining her wealth and opening a profitable gambling den.
Eighteenth-century engraving of Ching Shi, the Chinese pirate queen
Read about more famous pirates
What did pirate women wear?
Piracy has existed since humanity took to the sea, so it’s likely women dressed either as women or as sailors in the styles and conventions of their own time. Many of the depictions of both male and female pirates we see today are glamorised accounts on the 17th Century’s golden age of piracy.
The rise of pulp fiction in the 1800s had a dramatic effect on our understanding of pirate costume.
One example is the Penny Dreadful, a popular literary series of the 1860s — both in the United States and the British Empire. These cheap books told sensational stories of adventure and featured pirates and highwaymen, which are likely a primary source for many tales and imagery of female pirates today.
Women that became sailors often had to disguise their identity and conceal their gender by dressing the same as men. However, the reports of Grace O’Malley, Mary Read and Anne Bonny show that these pirates did not hide their gender and wore what they liked. Often this would dependent on what they were doing. In the pamphlet The Tryals of Captain John Rackam and other Pirates published in 1721, witnesses suggest:
«When they saw any Vessel, gave Chase, or Attacked, they wore Men’s Cloaths; and, at other Times, they wore Women’s Cloaths.»
Main image: Mary Read, The Duel, from the Pirates of the Spanish Main series for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes
5 Famous Female Pirates | Sky HISTORY TV Channel
5 Famous Female Pirates
AdventurersWomen’s historyTreasure Hunting
Ever superstitious, traditionally pirates believed it was bad luck to let a female aboard a ship. Despite this, female pirates existed, and some even became pirate legends in their own right.
Take a look at some of history’s most infamous female pirates:
Born around 1690 in Ireland, Anne Bonny became a notorious pirate operating in the Caribbean. Born as an illegitimate child to a lawyer in Belfast, she would emigrate to America as an adult where she married a sailor in 1718 and joined him on his travels to the Caribbean. Here she met and fell for the famous pirate Jack Rackham. Abandoning her husband for Jack, they soon became somewhat of a pirate power couple, marrying at sea and having a son in Cuba. Their piracy career was soon the stuff of legends, raiding various ships and obtaining masses of treasure, including the capture of the major vessel Revenge.
The good times were over by 1720 however, when Rackham, Anne and their crew were attacked and captured by a «King’s Ship,» under commission from the Governor of Jamaica. While Rackham was sentenced to being hanged, Anne was spared after pleading for mercy due to being pregnant. There is no historical record of her release or life after her arrest, but there are some theories that her father may have ransomed her and returned her to her first husband.
Part of Anne’s and Jack’s pirate crew, Mary Read began life diguised as a boy in a bid to scam her grandmother into believing she was her dead half-brother. In her early adult life she continued her disguise, taking on several male dominated roles, including that of a soldier and as a merchant sailor. She turned to piracy after one of the ship’s she was working on as a sailor was invaded. Eventually she joined the pirate ship and crew of Jack Rackham, where she befriended Anne and revealed herself to be a woman. During her time with them she gained a fierce reputation, and was widely respected as being just as a capable fighter and swordswoman as any of her male counterparts.
Her time with Anne and Jack’s crew was shortlived, as after only a few months she too was captured by the King’s Ship. As with Anne, she claimed to be pregnant and pleaded for mercy from hanging, but died only a few months later in prison from a fever.
Cheng I Sao
Beginning life in China as a prostitute, Cheng I Sao entered piracy on account of her husband, powerful pirate Cheng I who commanded a huge pirate fleet. His fleet consisted of 400 ships and over 70,000 sailors. After seven years of marriage, her husband died leaving the fate of his pirate army uncertain. In an attempt to unite her crew and maintain power, she married her adopted son, enabling her to become the new leader of the fleet. Over the next few years she commanded many successful raids across Southeast Asia, and quickly became a major enemy of China. In 1810, the Chinese government enlisted the help of British and Portugese navies to capture her and her crew.
Instead of fighting, Cheng I Sao struck a deal with the Chinese. She agreed to surrender and disband her crew as long as she could keep her riches. They agreed, and she set up shop as a successful gambling house and brothel owner in Guangzhou, South China. She passed away in 1844 at the age of 69.
Rachel Wall’s legacy is steeped in mystery, but if we are to believe the myths, she was the first American woman to become a pirate. Born around 1760 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, she ran away from home as a teenager and met and married fisherman George Wall. Fearing a life subjected to poverty, they turned to crime in 1781 by forming a small gang and operating a scam off the coast of New England. Their scam involved pretending that their ship was in danger, and killing and robbing their rescuers. In a space of a year they murdered 24 sailors, and collected $6,000.
Their luck ran out in 1782 when a storm ravaged their boat and killed George. She continued thieving on land but was arrested in 1789 for attacking and robbing a woman. During her time in prison she confessed to all of her crimes apart from murder, but there was enough evidence mounted against her to sentence her to death by hanging. She was the last woman in Massachusetts to be executed.
Grace O’Malley is one of the earliest known female pirates, born around 1530 in Ireland and growing up to lead a 20-ship fleet. Born into an established clan in the West of Ireland, Grace inherited her father’s successful shipping and trading business, making her a wealthy and powerful woman. She continued her family’s traditional business model of attacking and plundering English and Spanish ships and claiming their booty for her own. Many legends surround her fighting spirit, including that she returned to battle at sea only a day after giving birth.
Grace also met with Elizabeth I, requesting that her two sons (captured by the English) to be released. They agreed to various demands on both sides, but when Grace felt that Elizabeth did not uphold her entire side of the deal, she ignored all further demands and she and her sons continued to rebel against the English and attack their ships. While there are no exact historical records, it is generally believed that she died in her early 70’s, most likely at Rockfleet Castle.
Pirate Party Names: Female, Male, Neutral
If you’re planning a pirate party or Treasure Hunt, then pirate names are sure to come in handy. A thematic name will help the guest to easily transform into a brave sea robber.
Below you will find pirate names for girls and boys, neutral names to use if you don’t know who will be invited to the party, pirate ship names and more.
Pirate names for girls
You can come up with new names for all the guests, or you can add themed adjectives to real names, for example, brave, courageous, wild, stubborn, accurate, cunning, dexterous, ruthless, frisky, harsh, etc. .d.
- Ruthless Grace
- Mary Reed
- Grace O’Malle
- Accurate Jesy
- Emma Swan
- Madame Zin
- Babe Janelle
- Jean-Marie Leray
- Margot Shark Tooth
- Frisky Emmy
- Sly Nancy
- Miss Zane
- Lady Undine
- Relentless Bonnie
- Nimble Trace
- Rusty Molly
- Brave Debbie
- Quiet Cat
- Wild Annie
- Margaret Young
Pirate names for boys
- John Silver
- Lanky Ben
- Evans Barton
- Chatty Hugh
- Henry Norton
- Red Billy
- Jim Hawkins
- Ed Summers
- Mat Rose
- Jean Goldie
- Dashing Val
- Scoundrel Steve
- Merciless Volume
- Fist Edwin
- Brave Tim
- Changeling Oliver
- Squeamish Lanny
- Wild Charlie
- Black Sam
- Wiry Thomas
- Iron Davis
- Long-legged Hans
- Edward Teach
- Fierce Will
- Billy Bones
- Henry Dickerson
- Shaggy Bill
- Don Cortes
- Henry Morgan
- Haris Dixie
- Sly Fox
- Strong Jack
- Billy Jones
- Ram Henry
- Moody Hygo
- Eliot Keith
- Raging Addams
Gender neutral names and nicknames (unisex)
- El Grom
- Limmy G
- Resin ear
- Captain Flint
- Fox Joe
- Captain Lynch
- Joe Nord
- Remy Jones
- Lee Hart
Names of pirate ships
- Silent Commander
- Golden Fox
- Shadow of Queen Anne
- Golden Doe
- Black Express
- Black revenge
- Dead water
- Black Scorpion
- Victoria Bloody Baroness
- Black Ghost
- Black Pegasus
- Black galleon
- Flying in the night
- Night Rogue
Pirate quests and games
How to entertain pirates at a party? Of course, a fun treasure hunt game.
«In Search of Treasure»
To do this, we have put together a ready-made set «Pirate Quest», with which you can prepare an adventure for children, adults or the whole family in 20-30 minutes. It is enough to download and print the prepared materials.
You can read more about the pirate quest here, and order it on the set page.
This is a role playing game for adults and teenagers.
A murder is taking place in the tavern that the pirates have chosen. The task of the players, without leaving the role, is to find the killer.
You can see an example of a role, download instructions and buy cards for printing here.
Ready-made scenarios and sets
You can choose any other ready-made scenario in the catalog.
Go to catalog
The most famous female pirates
What boy didn’t play pirates in his childhood? It seems so romantic to capture other people’s ships in distant seas, experiencing dizzying adventures. However, not only men, but also women were engaged in piracy. There is historical evidence for this. At the same time, the most successful pirate ladies achieved the unspoken status of «queens».
Such women turned out to be no less brave, cunning, and sometimes cruel than the most famous corsairs of that time. The sea beckoned ladies the opportunity to get rich quickly, to see different countries, and there was no shortage of worthy lovers. That’s just the authorities did not particularly look at the sex of the pirates caught, administering their justice. About the most famous ladies who have chosen such a dangerous, but also romantic craft, and will be discussed.
Alvilda (5th century). This woman in the history of piracy is one of the first known representatives of the weaker sex. Alvilda led robbery in Scandinavian waters in the early Middle Ages. The name of this woman is found in all popular stories of piracy. Legends say that this woman was actually a princess, her father was a king from the island of Gotland. When the monarch decided to marry his daughter to Alpha, the son of the powerful king of Denmark, Alvilda decided to run away from home and become a pirate. In her robbery voyage, the Amazon recruited a team of young women just like herself. The robbers dressed in men’s clothes, and Alvilda herself became the main robber in the local waters. Soon the raids of a brave female pirate began to seriously threaten merchant ships and residents of the coastal territories of the Danish kingdom, then Prince Alf himself was sent to fight the robbers. He did not suspect that he would pursue his failed bride. After the prince killed almost all the pirates, he entered into a duel with their leader. The man was able to defeat the pirate and forced him to surrender. Alf was very surprised when, under the helmet, he discovered the young face of Alvilda, whom he wanted to marry. The girl appreciated the courage of the prince and his fighting skills, agreeing to marry him. The wedding was played right on board the pirate ship. The young people made vows to each other. The prince promised to love forever his chosen one, and Alvilda herself gave a vow to ever go to sea without a spouse. The veracity of this story can be questioned. The researchers found that for the first time the legend of Alvilda was told to his readers by the monk Saxo Grammatik, who lived in the 12th century. The mention of a female pirate is found in his Acts of the Danes. The image of Alvilda was born either thanks to the myths about the Amazons, or the ancient Scandinavian sagas.
Jeanne de Belleville (1300-1359). If the image of Alvilda is semi-legendary, then the avenger Jeanne de Belleville became the first truly famous corsair from the point of view of history. Around 1335, Jeanne remarried a Brittany nobleman, Olivier Claesson. It was a turbulent time — there was a Hundred Years War, and the country was torn apart by internal conflicts. Jeanne’s husband turned out to be an accomplice in the conspiracy and was executed by order of King Philip VI. His loving wife decided to avenge her husband, vowing to do everything possible for this. Jeanne took her two sons, the eldest was only fourteen years old, and went to England. There she obtained an audience with King Edward III. The monarch provided the avenger with a small fleet of three ships, it was called the «Vengeance Fleet in the English Channel.» This small flotilla robbed merchant ships for several years, even attacking French warships. All the booty received was sent to England, and the sailors who surrendered were simply destroyed. The brave woman personally went on ships at sea in search of prey, Jeanne was among the first to board and led the assaults on coastal French castles. Eyewitnesses said that the female pirate was fluent in both a boarding ax and a saber. The fame of Jeanne de Belleville spread throughout France, where she was nicknamed the bloodthirsty lioness. Parliament even passed a special decree on the expulsion of such a recalcitrant subject from the country and on the confiscation of all her property. The country’s fleet received an order to finally clear the English Channel from English pirates. Soon Jeanne’s flotilla was surrounded. She herself abandoned the pirates and set off with her sons in a small rowing boat towards England. For six days, the sailors tried to row to the island, but the current constantly carried them out to sea. It turned out that the escape was made in such a hurry that the pirates forgot to take water and provisions with them. Six days later, the youngest son de Belleville died, and then several sailors. A few days later, the unfortunate people washed up on the shores of Brittany. Fortunately for Jeanne, she ended up with the associates of her deceased husband. Over time, the brave woman even remarried, the nobleman Gauthier de Bentley became her chosen one.
Lady Killigru (?-1571). This pirate woman became a thunderstorm of the same English Channel about two hundred years after the story of Jeanne de Belleville. Lady Mary Killigreu has managed to lead a double life. In secular society, the lady was known and respected as the respected wife of the governor, Lord John Killigre, who lived in the port city of Falmet. On the other hand, she secretly commanded pirates who plundered merchant ships in Falmet Bay. And such tactics for a long time allowed the lady to act with impunity and secretly. She just never left any living witnesses behind her. One day a Spanish ship entered the bay, heavily laden with goods. The captain and crew did not have time to come to their senses, as they were captured by pirates. The leader of the Spaniards managed to hide and was surprised to see that a young, beautiful, but very cruel woman was in command of the corsairs. The captain managed to escape from the captured ship and get to the shore. In the city of Falmet, he went to the governor to inform him of the pirate attack. What was the captain’s surprise when he saw that same beauty sitting next to the governor! But Lord Killigru managed two fortresses, which were supposed to ensure the calm navigation of merchant ships in the bay. Then the captain decided to keep silent and left for London. There he told a strange story to the king, who began his own investigation. It suddenly turned out that Lady Killigru had piracy in her blood — her father was the famous pirate Philip Wolversten from Sofolk. The woman herself from an early age began to take part in the robbery attacks of her father. Marriage to the lord helped her achieve a position in society, as well as form her own pirate crew. So Lady Killigru began to rob ships in the English Channel and coastal waters. The investigation found out exactly how some ships disappeared, which were previously considered to have disappeared due to mystical forces. Lord Killigru was convicted and executed for pandering to the interests of his wife. Yes, and the lady herself received a death sentence, later replaced by Queen Elizabeth I, not life imprisonment. Interestingly, ten years later, pirates under the command of Lady Killigru again appeared in the English Channel. This time it was the daughter-in-law of the executed lord who acted.
Grein (Granual) O’Malley (1533-1603). This female pirate was, on the one hand, very brave, and on the other, cruel and insensitive towards her enemies. Grain was from an old Irish family, in which there were many pirates, corsairs, or simply sailors. The ships of the family flew a flag with a white seahorse and the inscription «Strong on land and at sea.» According to the legends, Grain O’Malley was born in the same year (1533) with the English Queen Elizabeth I. They write that the Irish woman even met her crowned peer a couple of times, although women fought each other in life. From an early age, Grain showed a warlike character. When her father refused to take her to sea for the first time, the girl cut off her luxurious hair — a symbol of female beauty. This is how her nickname «Bald Graine» appeared. On sea voyages, the girl also studied languages, she knew Latin very well. Soon the brave girl rallied herself the most selective pirates and corsairs and began to plunder the lands of people hostile to her clan. Grain decided to get rich in this way. Over time, she either defeated her half-brother in battle and became the leader of the clan, or simply married the corsair O’Flaherty, leading his fleet. I must say that even as a pirate, Grain managed to give birth to three children. After the death of her husband in battle, the widow managed to save her warlike fleet, moreover, her relatives gave her the island of Clare for a pirate base. And the woman did not remain inconsolable. Grain was first comforted in the arms of a young aristocrat, Hugh de Lacey, fifteen years her junior. After him, Lord Burke, nicknamed Iron Richard, became the new husband of a brave woman. The fact is that on the coast of Mayo only his castle turned out to be uncaptured by her. This marriage lasted only a year. The pirate divorced in a very original way — she simply locked herself in the castle and shouted from the horse to Richard Burke that she was leaving him. Grain showed her rebellious nature even at a meeting with Queen Elizabeth. At first she refused to bow to her, not recognizing her as Queen of Ireland. And the rebel dagger somehow managed to carry it with her. As a result of that meeting, it was possible, if not to attract Grein to the royal service, then to conclude at least the appearance of a peace agreement. Over time, the pirate began its activities again, trying not to harm England. Grain O’Malley died in 1603, the same year as the queen.
Anne Bonny (1700-1782). And this native of Ireland managed to enter the history of piracy. At the age of five, thanks to her father, lawyer William Cormac, she came to North America. The case took place in 1705. And already at the age of 18, Ann was known as a beauty with a stormy and unpredictable temperament. She was considered an enviable bride and her father began to look after rich suitors. But the girl met the sailor James Bonnie and fell in love with him. The father interfered with the relationship, which is why the young people got married and left for the island of New Providence. But love soon passed and Ann began to live with the captain of a pirate ship, John Rackem. He, in order not to part with his passion, dressed her in men’s clothes and took her to his service as a sailor. Ann became a pirate on the sloop Dragon, which sailed between the Bahamas and the Antilles. At the moments of boarding merchant ships, Ann amazed even the best pirates with her courage. She was merciless to the enemies, rushing first into the thick of the battle. And after the end of the battle, Ann personally dealt with the prisoners, doing it extremely cruelly. Even battle-hardened pirates were frightened by such sadism of a young sailor who, with or without reason, grabbed a knife and a pistol. They did not know that their colleague was a woman. After some time, Anne became pregnant, and the captain put her ashore, leaving his friend in charge. Having given birth, the woman left the guardian of her small child and returned to the pirates. There, she and the captain decided to tell the pirates the truth. And although the team remembered what a woman means on a ship, especially a pirate one, the riot did not take place. After all, everyone remembered how bloodthirsty and cruel Ann was. And her behavior and advice often saved the pirates. And in one of the attacks, the Dragon captured an English ship. Young sailor Mac liked Ann, who decided to sleep with him. But he, too, turned out to be a woman, an Englishwoman, Mary Read. She also became a pirate, no less famous than her friend. In 1720, Anne Bonny, along with her accomplices, was caught. The execution of a woman was constantly delayed due to her pregnancy. It is said that the father managed to redeem his unlucky daughter and return home. The storm of the seas once died in 1782, at a venerable age, having given birth to nine more children in a second peaceful marriage.
Jaco Delahay (XVII century). This lady was a French privateer in the 17th century. And she was born in exotic Haiti, however, the girl’s father was not a native, but a Frenchman. In the history of piracy, Jaco Delahai remained a woman of extraordinary beauty. It is believed that she chose the path of a pirate after the death of her father. In fact, this was the only person close to her. The mother died during childbirth, and the older brother was mentally handicapped, remaining in the care of his sister. Jaco Delahai had to go on board the ship of his sailor father and become a robber. This happened in the 1660s. Over time, in order to hide from her pursuers, the pirate staged her own death. At one time, Jaco changed her name and lived in a male form. When she returned, she earned the nickname «Red of the Dead» thanks to her beautiful fiery red hair.
Anna Dieu-Le-Vaux (Mary Ann, Marianne) (1650-?). This French pirate woman was born in the middle of the 17th century. It is believed that she was taken out of Europe to the colonial lands as a criminal. A woman appeared on Tortuga in 1665-1675, when the governor Bertrand Dogeron de la Boure ruled there. On this island, a famous haven for pirates, Mary Ann married the corsair Pierre Lengs. In 1683, he died in a duel at the hands of the famous pirate Laurens de Graff. Then Marianne also challenged him to a duel. According to some information, the reason was not the death of a spouse, but personal insults. But the fight did not take place, Lawrence said that he was not going to fight with a woman. But admiring her courage, he invited Marianne to become his wife. In fact, de Graff was already officially married, so Marianne became his concubine and mistress. You can really call Anna a pirate, as she followed her husband everywhere and fought alongside him. Ann Bonnie did the same. However, unlike her, Die-Le-Vaux did not hide her gender, which is why she attracted attention, causing universal respect and even admiration. It is believed that Marianne was a brave, stern and merciless pirate. She even got the nickname «Anna — God’s will.» And although it is believed that a woman on a ship brings bad luck, this did not concern Marianne. It seemed that the pirates were lucky with her. At 169In the year 3, her husband took part in the capture of Jamaica, for which he received the title of chevalier and the rank of senior lieutenant. But a year later, the British attacked Tortuga — Anna, along with her two daughters, was captured and spent three years as a hostage. The family was reunited only in 1698. The fate of the pirates is then lost, it is said that they even became colonists in the Mississippi. But there is one interesting story, dated 1704. There is evidence that it was Anna, along with her husband Lawrence, who attacked the Spanish ship. The man was killed by a cannonball, then Marianne took command of the pirates. Unfortunately, there were fewer robbers, they lost the battle. All the pirates were sent to hard labor, but the name of their leader turned out to be too famous. The news of Anna’s arrest reached Louis XIV himself through the naval secretary of France, who asked the Spanish king to intervene. As a result, the female pirate was released. And one of her daughters lived in Haiti and became famous for defeating a man in a duel.
Ingela Hammar (1692-1729). This woman served as a privateer for the Swedish king Charles XII during his Northern War at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1711, the 19-year-old girl married the pirate Lars Gatenhielm, who officially received permission from the king to rob enemy merchant ships. But the privateer plundered everything that came in his way. And Ingela knew her future husband from childhood, their union had long been approved by her parents. This marriage was happy, five children were born in it. There is every reason to believe that Ingela was not just a beloved wife, waiting for her husband on the shore, but also a faithful companion in his activities. Perhaps it was Ingela who was the brain behind all of Lars’ cunning operations, behind all his activities. Most of the operations were planned at the base in Gothenburg and were controlled from there. And in 1715, the family had already earned a huge fortune. In 1718 Lars died and his privateering passed to Ingele. During the course of the war, she further expanded her husband’s privateering empire. It is no coincidence that the Swede was even nicknamed the queen of navigation. But after the conclusion of a peace agreement with Denmark in 1720 and Russia in 1721, there was no one to fight with. In 1722, the former pirate remarried, and died in 1729year. Ingelu Hammar was buried next to her first husband.
Mary Lindsey (1700-1745). This Englishwoman was born in 1700 and her piracy is also associated with her husband’s name. Eric Cobham robbed ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and his base was located on the island of Newfoundland. The couple became famous for their cruelty on the verge of sadism. The pirates preferred to sink the captured ships, and all members of the crew were either killed or used as a target for shooting exercises. Such a career of corsairs lasted for the spouses from 1720 to 1740. After that, the couple decided to start a new life in France. In Europe, the Cobham couple became respected in society, Eric even managed to get the post of judge. But for Maria, such a sedate life turned out to be not to her liking, and she simply went crazy. Either the woman committed suicide, or her husband killed her. And before his death, Eric Cobham told the priest about all his sins, asking him to tell everyone the story of his life. The book came out shameful and incriminating, and the descendants even tried to buy and destroy the entire print run. But a copy remained in the National Archives of Paris.
Rachel Wall (1760-1789). The death penalty has long been abolished in many American states. The last person to be hanged in Massachusetts was Rachel Wall. Possibly the first American-born woman to become a pirate. And she was born into a family of devout believers in provincial Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Rachel did not like life on a country farm, which is why she chose to move to the city. Once a girl was attacked in the port, and a certain George Wall saved her. The guy and the girl fell in love and got married, although Rachel’s parents were against it. The young people moved to Boston, where George became a sailor on a fishing schooner and his wife became a servant. The family was constantly short of money, so George Wall suggested to his friends that they become pirates. At first, the crew, along with Rachel, operated on Shoals Island, off the coast of New Hampshire. The girl on the deck of the schooner portrayed the victim of a shipwreck. When boats with rescuers arrived there, the pirates killed them and robbed them. In 1781-1782, the Walls, along with their accomplices, captured twelve boats and thus earned 6 thousand dollars and a bunch of valuables. 24 people were killed. But in the end, George Wall, like most of his team, died during a severe storm. Rachel had to return to Boston and resume her work as a servant there. But the robber has not forgotten her past, from time to time stealing boats in the docks. And while trying to rob a young lady, Margaret Bender, the bandit was caught. September 10, 1789Rachel Wall was convicted of robbery but asked to be tried as a pirate. The authorities agreed, although the woman did not kill anyone. On October 8, Rachel was hanged, having lived only 29 years.
Charlotte Badger (1778 -1816). There were also female pirates in the history of Australia. The very first is considered to be Charlotte Badger, who was born in the English Worcestershire. She also made history by being one of the first two white female settlers in New Zealand. An Englishwoman was born in a poor family to support herself, she began to engage in petty theft. At 179In the year 6, a girl was caught trying to steal a silk scarf and some coins. For this, she was sentenced to seven years hard labor in New South Wales, Australia. There she began working at a women’s factory and even gave birth to a daughter. Together with the child in 1806, Charlotte boarded the Venus, planning to find work in the colonies. The captain of the ship, Samuel Chase, turned out to be a cruel man and liked to beat women with whips just for fun. Badger, along with his girlfriend, also an exile, Catherine Hagerty, did not want to endure the bullying of the sadist and persuaded the passengers to revolt.