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.
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 ‘to whistle up a storm’).
Pirates would take over island ports and make them a safe haven for pirates.
Almost all pirates stole their ships because they couldn’t buy ships incase 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 traveled 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.
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.