24 Pirate Traditions That You Probably Didn’t Know About

With Halloween being over, many of us may have donned some traditional garb in the form of lederhosen, kilts and/or cultural robes.

But for all those who dressed up as pirates, there’s actually a lot of hidden facts about these sea-faring, marauding scavengers that we might not have known. Despite the aesthetic and hilariously portrayed Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Caribbean, pirates are actually not that kind. Pirates have long held the reputation of being ruthless killers who came up with some pretty unique ways to execute people while out in the sea. They also started several trends including wearing earrings and hiding treasures.

They also employed the use of codes and sign language to talk to each other during their travels on the high sea. This pirate code was meant to keep peace among the other pirates. It stated that they could not fight their sailing mates on water and could only fight them on land. Furthermore, this informal pirate code was also meant to control the type of clothing that a pirate would wear. In a sense, this pirate code also dictated the uniform that a pirate must wear.

1) The Jolly Roger is the generally accepted universal flag for pirates with its black background and the skull and crossbones in the front. This flag might be the most known insignia for the pirates but in reality, there is actually a wide array of versions.

2) The first mention of this Jolly Roger flag was in a book from 1724 titled, A General History of the Pyrates, by Charles Johnson. However, there are many versions of this flag such as Blackbeard’s flag which featured a skeleton toasting the devil while spearing a bloody heart.

3) Blackbeard may be the most terrifying and well-known pirate in the world. He was born as Edward Teach but he later got his nickname, Blackbeard, for his thick black beard and also for his fearsome composure. Blackbeard was much more inclined to use his intimidating presence than violence to rob.

4) But in order for Blackbeard to maintain his terrifying appearance, he would weave hemp into his beard and onto his hair so that when he lit the hemp on fire it would look as if his beard was on fire and that smoke was billowing from his entire head.

5) Pirates weren’t just relegated to men. Women could be pirates too. Anne Bonny and Mary Read were both female pirates. Anne Bonny was so impressive that she served as the first mate while Mary Read chose to dress as a man in order to hide her identity.

6) When Anne Bonny and Mary Read’s ships were captured, the two women were subsequently jailed. It was in prison where Anne blamed her captain, Calico Jack, for their imprisonment. She said: ‘sorry to see you there, but if you’d fought like a man, you would not have been hang’d like a Dog.’

7) In order to prevent the sailors in the British Navy from drinking the dirty water that was contaminated with algae and microbes, the British Navy would give each sailor a pint (a little over five shots) of rum each day to mix with the water.

8) The pirates, just like the sailors in the Navy, would drink what was readily available to them. And because there were large quantities of rum in the Caribbeans, the seafaring people could mix rum with an assortment of liquids. The pirates enhanced this ‘grog’ by adding lemon juice, which is said to prevent scurvy, and sugar into the mix.

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