Thanks to Amy’s suggestion I picked up HerStoria Magazine. There are some amazing articles in these magazines. I have decided that every so often I will do a post based on something that intrigued me in these articles.
This session is about women pirates.
I have always been interested in pirates, as I think many people are. The thought of a woman pirate had never really crossed my mind. Apparently there are not too many recorded women pirates but there were a few that I was clued in to in the article.
Mary Read (English): Mary Read began dressing as a man after her husband died and became a sailor in Holland. After doing that for awhile, Mary joined the ranks of Calico Jack’s ship where Anne Bonny was already a pirate. Anne fell in love with Mary, who was still dressed as a man. It is believed that they became lovers. While attacking ships, Mary dressed as a man, but during the other times aboard ship, she dressed as a woman. Their ship was overrun by a pirate hunter in Jamaica and both Mary and Anne were imprisoned. Mary was not executed because she was pregnant (supposedly by an artist), but she died in prison from childbirth fever.
Anne Bonny (American): As a young teen, Anne Bonny ran off and married a low ranking pirate. While they were in the Bahamas she met the pirate Calico Jack and had an affair with him. Her husband was upset and had her tried for adultery – she eventually ran away with Jack and joined his crew. Anne was a successful pirate with Jack. As stated above she had a relationship with Mary Read. When their ship was captured she plead pregnancy as Mary had done (the child is believed to have been Jack’s). It is believed that her father was able to secure her release and brought her back to South Carolina where she lived to an old age.
Grace O’Malley (Irish): Grace’s father was involved in international shipping, so the ways of the sea were in her blood. Grace took the reins of her own ship and traveled around Ireland. One of the things that she was known for was stopping trade ships and exacting a tax in order for safe passage – refusal to pay could lead to dire consequences. Grace is most known for her famous meeting with Queen Elizabeth. She met with Elizabeth in order to have her sons and brother released from custody as well as another list of demands in exchange for ceasing her pirating activity. Some were met, some were not. Apparently the women hit it off. She later resumed her piracy.
For further reading try:
• Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell (about Grace O’Malley and Elizabeth)
• The Only Life the Mattered by Jack Rackam (about Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and Calico Jack)
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