Rackham, Bonny, and Read – true or false?

Thank you to Rick Brainard over at 18th Century History for giving me the chance to talk about one of my favorite pirate duos, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

There are a number of myths and legends about female pirates. These range from the simple “There were no female pirates” (False) to “The largest pirate fleet in history was commanded by a woman”  (True) and everything in between. While women most certainly were not in the majority in pirate crews, and weren’t even a large minority, they did exist. In fact they continue to exist. In 2000 “Sister Ping” was arrested after a career of holding captives for ransom on the high seas starting in the ‘70s.  As Norwich University Professor James Kraska  pointed out in a recent paper , piracy is alive and well. Women have been involved the entire time.

Two of the most famous lady pirates were Anne Bonny and Mary Read. The two not only existed, but they served together on the same ship. Sailing under pirate captain “Calico” Jack Rackham, the two cut a swath through the Caribbean that has created a number of myths and legends. Which of these are true, and which are false? Let’s take a look by examining some of them and titling them as “True”, “False”, or “Unknown”.

Read the rest of the post at 18th Century History.


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