Janet Theobald – “Pirates”

Janet Theobald presented her talk on “Pirates” at our meeting held on Thursday 20th January.
Piracy by definition is the taking of property on the high seas. It is a crime and was punishable by death, usually by hanging. Piracy flourished on the Spanish main and was encouraged by English Kings and Queen Elizabeth 1st as part of a campaign against the Spanish. English royalty encouraged these activities by giving Privateers “permission” to “lawfully” attack other countries ships taking possession of the vessels and their cargoes for the benefit of the crown. Spanish ships were attacked off Carolina and in the Caribbean. The Caribbean islands provided safe havens for the pirate ships to hide.
Corsairs were Muslim pirates operating off the coast of North Africa. They captured Christians and enslaved up to 1 million of them.
Pirate vessels often flew flags of other nations then prior to attacking a merchant ship they would raise the Jolly Roger – skull and crossbones flag.
The pirate Captain Henry Morgan was knighted by Charles II. Captain Teach was a pirate also known as Blackbeard.
Sailors believed having a woman aboard a ship would bring bad luck to them, but there were some women pirates. Mary Read dressed like a boy serving on a ship and no one, other than Anne Bonney her ship mate, knew she was a woman. They were on a ship under Captain Jack Rackham who was married to Anne.
Grace O’Malley was an Irish pirate involved with her father attacking ships.