The Jolly Roger flag is most readily identified with the golden age of piracy. But a number of different flags and designs were used, and not just the iconic skull and crossbones. 

The practice of flying a Jolly Roger flag first appeared in the 1710s. It signified that a pirate ship was about to attack. 

 

The Beginnings of the Jolly Roger Flag

There is some disagreement between historians about the history of the term “Jolly Roger.” The first use of the term in print appears in 1724 in Charles Johnson’s The General History of Pyrates. (The book is now attributed to Daniel Dafoe, who wrote Robinson Crusoe).