Pirates believed that wearing 'pierced' earrings would improve their
eyesight - strange Will and Guy think.
- Seven Funny Pirate Jokes
- Pirate Trivia and
- Stories of Famous Pirates
- Pirate Vocabulary
- Gruesome Pirate Story
Talk Like a Pirate Day
- Why can't you play cards on a pirate ship?
The captain keeps standing on the deck.
- How do you make a tall pirate short?You take all his money.
- What does the ocean say when it sees the shore?
Nothing, it just waves.
- What happened
to the man with two wooden legs when his trousers caught fire?
He was burnt to the ground.
- What does a pirate's parrot eat.
- Which pirate wears the biggest hat?
The one with the
- Question: Who's that at the door?Answer: A pirate with a wooden leg.
Questioner: Tell him to hop it.
Walking the Plank
Hollywood, Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' and the story of Peter Pan,
are responsible for perpetuating the myth that pirates used to
kill their enemies by making them 'walk the plank.'
The fact, it is hard to imagine that real pirates such as Captain Kidd would waste time killing someone by drowning in this fashion. A quick throw
overboard would suffice. If a buccaneer
wished to be cruel, or wanted to torture their victim, then Keel-hauling would be more effective.
Another reason why 'walking
the plank' is lionised is because of Howard Pyle's illustrations in the 19th Century. The picture (see right) first appeared in Harper's Monthly in 1887.
- The Jolly Roger flag, with its black background and white skull and
crossbones, was designed to be scary. This flag was not used by all pirates,
usually it was only flown by those sailing in the Spanish Main.
- Pirates believed that wearing 'pierced' earrings would improve their
eyesight - strange we think.
- Pirates believed that having women on board their ship was bad luck.
- They also believed that whistling on a ship would cause the weather to
turn stormy; as in the phrase 'to whistle up a storm'.
- Pirates would take over island ports and make them a safe haven for
- Almost all pirates stole their ships because they couldn't buy ships in
case they got caught and sent to jail. Once they had taken over a ship they
had to convert it for pirate life, this usually meant making more room for
sailors to live on board and strengthening the decks to hold the weight of
the heavy cannons.
- Ships sailing on their own often sailed close to warships or joined other
convoys of ships to protect themselves from pirates. Pirates could only
attack one ship at a time, so if the sailors travelled in groups there was
less chance of their boat being the one that was attacked.
- Pirate Captain's would change out of their expensive, flashy clothes if
there was a chance they might be captured. This way they could pretend they
where only one of the crew, and not somebody important and hopefully escape.
- Pirates probably didn't have talking parrots say Will and Guy.
- Although pirates have been around since the 15th century, most pirating
happened between 1690 and 1720.
- On the Caribbean island of St Thomas you will find a place called "Black
Beard's Castle". It is believed that this is where the famous pirate spent
many hours looking out for approaching ships.
Captain Morgan, typifies the buccaneer spirit. He also typified how both the establishment and history blurred line between good and bad. If you were English and you robbed ships belonging
to enemy countries such as Spain, then you were a good privateer. But if you looted English or allied ships, then you were bad pirate. In 1673 Captain Morgan stood trial for piracy, however instead
of being convicted, the King (Charles II) intervened personally, knighted Captain Morgan, and then made him governor of Jamaica.
Captain Kidd, the scourge of the Indian ocean. Famously,
Captain Kidd was hanged in London in 1701; his body was then dipped in tar, and displayed on the bank of the river Thames as a deterrent to would be pirates.
Blackbeard, terrorised the American
coasts in the early 18th centaury. Killed in 1718 by Lieutenant Maynard of the Royal Navy (Pre-independence).
Fascinating Pirate Facts from Will and Guy
Did You Know There Are Four Different Types of Pirate:
Buccaneers were rovers who plied their sweet trade in the
Caribbean. The original name is Boucanier; meaning someone who barbecues
meat. The original buccaneers were hard, strong men who were involved in the
wood trade. When economic times were tough, they resorted to piracy to make
Corsairs was the name given to pirates who plied their sweet
trade off the coast of North Africa. The Barbary Corsairs were such a band
of pirates who sailed off the Barbary Coast.
The Barbary states were
semi-autonomous Muslim cities along the coast from which the pirates hailed.
Their chief claim to fame is the cruel manner in which they treated
Christian captives, who were chained to the benches of Corsair galleys and
made to row nonstop for hours on end. If the rower quit, he was mercilessly
whipped to death and tossed to the waves.
Corsair forts were known to be
places where prisoners were maltreated in a great variety of ways; including
being tossed onto hooks which were imbedded in the outer wall of the fort's
gate and left to rot in the hot sun.
Pirates are people who rob and plunder at sea; the sea worthy
equivalent of highwaymen. Down the centuries Kings and Queens have
done both through their
surrogates; privateers and tax collectors.
Privateers were often private boat owners who operated
under a 'Letter of Marque' from their government, which allowed them to
plunder the ships of "enemy" countries.
Privateers also used their
vessels to help protect their country in the event of war. As Samuel
Johnson's dictionary definitions make clear, in the eighteenth century 'the
difference between a pirate and a privateer was as thin as the piece of
paper bearing a royal letter of marque.'
The red colour signified that no life would be spared in a battle. Will
and Guy can reveal that in Will's home town of Portsmouth, England an
extremely rare 18th Century red "Jolly Roger" pirate flag has gone on
display at Portsmouth's navy museum.
The flag was captured in battle off the North African coast in 1780 by
one Lieutenant Richard Curry, Royal Navy, who later became an admiral.
Pirates used skull and crossbones flags to frighten passing ships into
surrendering without a fight. The flag is on show at the National
Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The red
background - rather than black - signified the pirates intended to spare no
life if a battle broke out during a ship's capture.
When it was restored at the Winchester School of Art's Textile
Conservation Centre in 2007, gunpowder and small holes with charred edges
were found on the flag. The Jolly Roger has been loaned to the museum
by its current owner Pamela Curry, a descendant of Lt Curry.
The Jolly Roger is the most famous pirate flag. The skull and cross bones
came from the symbol used in ships' logs, where it represented death on
board. It was first used as pirate flag around 1700 and quickly became
As piracy developed, more flags were used, and pirates often had their
own versions, such as a skull and crossed swords. The title Jolly
Roger is thought to come from the French phrase "joli rouge" which means
"pretty red" explains Will.
Will and Guy have
researched some vocabulary that you may enjoy using in your conversations:
- Growl - and scowl often. Pirates don't use a cultured, elegant, smooth vocalisation - they mutter and growl.
- Ahoy: Greetings,
also Hallo, Hi there.
- Avast: Stand still and listen.
- Aye or Aye Aye: Yes. OK.
- Aaaaargh: can mean anything you want it to.
- Black spot: by giving someone a black spot [place it in their hand]
you are marking them for death or misfortune.
- Booty: treasure searched for by pirates
- Cat o' nine tails: special whip for flogging wrongdoers and those that mutiny.
- Davy Jones' Locker: the bottom
of the sea, where the souls of dead men lie.
- Doubloons: gold coins.
- Gentlemen O' fortune: posh word for a pirate.
- Grog: A pirate's favourite drink - rum usually because of the Caribbean
- Jolly Roger: the skull and crossbones, the pirate flag.
- Keelhaul: a truly vicious punishment where a malcontent or wrongdoer was tied to a rope and dragged along the barnacle-encrusted
bottom of a ship. He would not survive this experience.
- Landlubber: 'land-lover,' someone not used to life onboard a ship.
- Lily-livered: faint hearted.
- Loaded to the gunwales (pronounced
gunnels): probably means to be inebriated.
- Matey: a shipmate or a friend. Also useful is Me hearty.
- Pieces o' eight: pieces of silver which could be cut into eighths thus enabling
change to be given.
- Privateer: a private warship owned by a pirate and officially sanctioned by a national power. e.g. Sir Francis Drake.
- Scurvy dog: a personal insult.
- Shiver me timbers: an
exclamation of surprise.
- Swashbuckling: fighting and having fun on the high seas.
- Walk the plank: exactly what it says on the tin.................
- Wench: a young pretty lady.
the way a pirate laughs, often heard with, '......................and a bottle of rum.'
A seven-year-old boy who was told to take down his pirate flag by a
Lincolnshire council has received a letter of apology. The young lad, who
has Asperger's syndrome, was told his Jolly Roger breached planning
East Lindsey District Council said it had acted after a complaint was
made about the flag. However, it has now sent the family an official apology
saying no further action would be taken.
In a letter, the authority said it wanted to 'take the opportunity to
apologise to you formally for the severity of the letter you received in
relation to the pirate flag you were flying in the garden for your son,
Anthony. When we receive a planning related complaint, the council has a
duty to write to make those concerned aware, but accept on this occasion our
letter was over the top.'
A good thing too, say Will and Guy.
Jackson saw an old seafaring friend walking along the sea front at Southsea. 'Hello Harry,' he said, 'How are you?'
It was only then that Jackson realised that Harry only had one leg!
he inquired. 'My wife left me so I jumped in front of a train but it only took my leg off.'
Jackson then noticed that Harry only had one hand and in its place was a hook. 'What happened to
'I tried it again, 'he replied,' and the train just took my hand off.'
Jackson, again noticed that Harry also had a glass eye. 'What's
up with your eye?'
he asked, this
time with considerable trepidation.
'Well,' said the Harry, 'after two
attempts to take my life I thought God doesn't want me to die, so I looked
to the sky and said 'thank you, God', and a passing
seagull made a deposit right in my eye ! ! !
'But you can't
loose an eye through bird muck.'
Harry looked down at the floor and said, 'I'd only had the hook for three days!'
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See more Jackson jokes and seafaring stories:
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talk like a pirate day
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