When we think of pirates we imagine bloodthirsty villains, vicious criminals and outlaws. The most famous pirates are those from the Caribbean region. In a time when a woman’s role was generally seen as that of a wife or a servant, pirates accepted on board people of any gender. One of the most famous female pirates is Anne Bonny.Throughout the years many movies tried portraying pirate’s lifestyle. Despite being coldblooded murderers, pirates had a more modern social view than we realize. Of course, this was due to necessity and the way they lived. It is now known that some pirate ships held elections to choose a new captain. When there was loot involved, pirates did not care about religious differences.
Anne Bonny was a female pirate who fought under the command of Jack “Calico Jack” Rackham. She was also the mistress of the captain. She eventually married “Calico Jack” while at sea. Anne Bonny proved to be a greater pirate than her husband. She drank and swore along with the crew members. She was merciless and usually led her crewmates to be even more violent. When Mary Reed was discovered on board, pretending to be a boy, Anne Bonny was the one that took her under her wing. The two became close friends and were ultimately more capable and more victorious in combat than the men.
In October 1720, the captain’s ship was attacked by a King’s ship. Historical accounts differ, some stating the attack took place during the day, others during the night. It is known that while most men were either too drunk to fight properly or asleep, Anne Bonny and Mary Reed defended the ship. In the end they were overwhelmed by the King’s men. The members of the crew were sentenced to death by hanging.
Anne Bonny and Mary Reed received a temporary stay of execution because they were both pregnant. Reed died in prison, either of fever or during childbirth. Apparently, Anne Bonny was saved by her father who was a wealthy merchant. She gave birth to Rackham’s child and settled in South Carolina. There she led an honest life, eventually remarried and had 10 more children.
Anne Bonny is one of the most famous female pirates. She never had command of a ship, unlike the Irish pirate Grace O’Malley. Did you know? Bonny’s last words to Captain Rackham were: “I’m sorry to see you here, but if you had fought like a man you need not have hanged like a dog”.
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