As a kid, I absolutely loved watching The Pirates of The Caribbean movies. Most of what I learned about pirates growing up was centered around men. But did you know that there were a number of female pirates?
One of the most famous ones was Anne Bonny, an Irish American pirate who sailed the seas of the Caribbean in the 18th century.
Anne was born in County Cork, Ireland, around 1700. She was believed to be the illegitimate child of a lawyer named William Cormac and the maid that worked in his home. When William’s wife found out about his infidelity, they separated, and William was granted custody of Anne.
When Anne got older, her father wanted to place her in an arranged marriage. But she refused and married sailor John Bonny in 1718. The two of them traveled to New Providence Island in the Bahamas, where John became an informant to the governor.
Anne was dissatisfied with her marriage to John and eventually started seeing John Rackman, a pirate who also went by Calico Jack. By 1720, she left John Bonny and joined Calico Jack on his ship named William.
Anne joining Jack was unusual at the time, as pirates often believed having a woman aboard their ships was bad luck.
So, Anne occasionally disguised herself as a man when performing certain pirate duties. At one point, another woman, Mary Read, joined the crew, and the two became close friends.
In the fall of 1720, their ship was attacked by another that was led by Jonathan Barnet. He had received orders from the governor to arrest Calico Jack and his crew.
Legend says that although Anne and Mary put up as much of a fight as they could, many of the crew members were too drunk to fight against Jonathan and his ship, so they were all ultimately arrested.
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