(Roughly) Daily

“There was a sound in their voices which suggested rum”*…

 

Pirates Ann Bonny and Mary Read depicted in 1724

How many real-life pirates can you name? While Captain Kidd or Blackbeard might come immediately to mind, names like Anne Bonny and Mary Read probably don’t. But as noted historian Marcus Rediker writes, they were just a few of the many women who sailed the seven seas disguised as men.

These women pirates have been almost completely obscured by the lore that surrounds their male counterparts. But they weren’t that uncommon: Marcus writes that women pirates “were not entirely unusual cases” and that they were part of “a deeply rooted underground tradition of female cross-dressing, pan-European in its dimensions but particularly strong in modern England, the Netherlands, and Germany.”

This tradition hinged on women with nothing to lose: people so marginalized and forgotten that all was opportunity. Women dressed as men to escape poverty and follow adventure on land, and women like Bonny and Read did it at sea…

Tap the barrel of rum at “Women were pirates, too.”

* Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

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As we raise the Jolly Roger, we might spare a thought for William Kidd; he was hanged on this day in 1701. Better known as “Captain Kidd,” he was a Scottish privateer, hired by European royals to attack foreign ships, mostly in the Caribbean.  But when, on an expedition to the Indian Ocean, his crew insisted on attacking the Quadegh Merchant, a large Armenian ship laden with treasures, Kidd found himself on the wrong side of the British government.  He was publicly executed in London in 1701, as a warning to other pirates.

Legends persist about Captain Kidd and the treasure some believe he buried in the Caribbean.

 source

 

Written by LW

May 23, 2017 at 1:01 am

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