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The word "pirate" comes from the Greek Piran, which means "to try one's luck." Piran gave the word pirata in Latin, which means "he who tempts fortune." But where the privateer only attacks in times of war and serves the interests of his country, attacking only merchant ships, the pirate is an outlaw! Working for itself, it attacks all types of boats and cargo indiscriminately.
The golden age of piracy extends from the 16th to the 18th century, and all the world's seas lived one day or another under the terror of these bandits. But the epicenter of piracy was undoubtedly the Caribbean Sea and, in particular, Nassau, the current capital of the Bahamas, then HQ of the pirates of the Caribbean and from all walks of life.
Blackbeard, the terror of the oceans
Blackbeard is undoubtedly the most famous of pirates! If the details of his biography are poorly known, historians believe that Blackbeard was born in the United Kingdom before 1690. Edward Teach of his first name began as a privateer in the service of Queen Anne before engaging in piracy after the War of the Spanish Succession.
For two years, from 1716 to 1718, Blackbeard and his bloody crew sowed the land and attacked many merchant ships in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic. If he ends up assassinated by a sailor from the British army at the end of an epic battle, Blackbeard owes to literature and cinema to be passed on to posterity.
Jack Rackham, "Calico Jack"
Jack Rackham was born in Bristol in 1682. Nicknamed "Calico Jack" because of his very colorful clothes, he notably inspired the character of "Rackham le Rouge," the cruel pirate in the adventures of Tintin. Calico Jack owes his fame in particular to the originality of his crew, which included two female pirates: his companion Anne Bonny and Mary Read. After several years of cat-and-mouse with the Governor of the Bahamas and countless ships robbed, he died in Jamaica in 1720.
Black Bart, originator of the Pirate Code
Bartholomew Roberts, whose real name is John Roberts, was born on May 17, 1682, in Wales. Black Bart was an atypical pirate both in his appearance, he was elegant and had excellent manners, and in his behaviour. He was nevertheless the most accomplished pirate, with several hundred boats captured and robbed in two years, in the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean. Black Bart is also known to have been the originator of the Pirate Code.
Black Sam, the richest
If all the greatest pirates amassed a colossal sum of money, Black Sam was the richest. Samuel Bellamy, born in the south of England in 1689, had a very short career. Prolific enough, however, to allow him to be nicknamed "Prince of the Pirates" because of his benevolence towards the men he took prisoner. Disappeared in a storm off Cape Cod in the United States, Black Sam sank with his treasure.
Ching Shih, the pirate woman
Piracy was not just a male affair, as evidenced by the presence on the ships of women like Anne Bonny, Anne Dieu-le-Veut, or Mary Read. But the most famous pirate in history is undoubtedly the Chinese Ching Shih. Born in 1775 in Canton, Ching Shih would have been a prostitute before marrying the famous pirate Zheng Yi. She succeeded him and found herself at the head of a flourishing fleet of nearly 1,800 ships and more than 70,000 men on his death. A shrewd strategist, Ching Shih retired as a pirate before accepting a government post. Where her Caribbean male counterparts almost all ended up at the bottom...