Imagine a pirate. Perhaps your vision would be a gravel-throated man wearing an eyepatch with a parrot on his shoulder riding a ship with a flying Jolly Rogers flag while yelling something like, “Make the lad walk the plank! Aaaarrrrggghh!” While that was the comical and stereotypical description of a pirate, what’s realistic about it was that we always think of pirates as men. In reality, there were also female pirates who ruled the high seas. Aye, here are three of them:
It wasn’t only Jack Sparrow who sailed the Caribbean seas. Anne Bonny, an Irish pirate, also once dominated the West Indies. There were only a few details about her life, but we know that her father brought her to London after a fight with his wife, who wasn’t Anne’s mother. Her father began dressing him as a boy and called him “Andy.” They say that was because he hoped to raise Anne as a lawyer’s clerk. She, later on, moved to Nassau in the Bahamas with her husband James Bonny— a poor sailor and small-time pirate.
Nassau at that time was known as a sanctuary for English pirates, and Anne started mingling with other pirates in the tavern. She met Calico Jack, who tried to pay James Bonny to divorce Anne. Naturally, he was met with threats of beating. So they eloped, and she became a member of Calico Jack’s crew, all while disguised as a man. The secret was kept among her, Calico, and a Mary Read. Anne became a crowd favorite, fighting alongside the men and ruling the waters near Jamaica.
In 1720, their crew was attacked by a sloop commissioned by the British Governor of Jamaica to hunt down pirates. Unfortunately, Calico’s crew was unprepared and was too drunk to fight. They were caught and hanged, except for Anne and Mary Read, who pleaded for mercy because they were pregnant. Their plea was granted.