History of the Carolinas: Women Pirates

From Cary Citizen

Tell Me a Pirate Story Daddy

When Gordon’s daughters were young, any long trip in the car meant; “Dad tell me a pirate story.”

Daughter Beth, who would become a reporter, editor and public relations officer, had high standards. Pirate stories must contain risk, danger, buried treasure and surprise endings to get the seal of approval.

Daughter Lisa, who later became a banker, wanted to review the logic of the plot development when the story ended. Beth liked ghosts but Lisa felt this confused the facts.

Pirate Books

We found pirate books in great demand. One bookstore owner indicated that if a used book on pirates arrived, it would be sold in a matter of hours. One trend in pirate literature, he told us, is interest in women pirates.

We found documentation of over 41 women pirates. We also found a few myths about piracy.

Pirates & Privateers

There were two kinds of sea marauders, legal privateers and pirates. Privateers had the authorization of a government and became heroes for looting and pillaging the government’s enemies. Pirates, without government sponsorship, would be hung for their sea crimes.

Pirate Treasure

What about stories of treasure ? Pirates divided the treasure but usually sold stolen goods and spent all money after a few days in port.

Pirate ships were crowded and disease filled but the allure of instant plunder and adventure attracted many including women during the golden age of piracy from 1650-1726.

Anne Bonny, Mary Read and Calico Jack Rackham

Two famous women pirates were Anne Bonny and Mary Read whose pirate activities centered on the Atlantic Ocean and West Indies.





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