Top 10 Real Life Famous Pirates Throughout History

You might wonder: what is being famous in piracy?

Well, level of ruthlessness, cruelty and viciousness is what makes a pirate “famous”. In the listing below, most famous pirates throughout history have been described who were an epitome of ultimate cruelty:

10-Edward England

Famous Pirates

An Irish national, Edward England was a famous pirate from 1717-1720. He became famous due to commanding of some famous ships. These include being the captain of the Royal James and the Fancy. He is also famous for having a distinctive flag that then became a commonly used pirate flag with a skull above two crossed bones on a black background.

A noticeable sea war was against the Cadogan from Bristol which he won. He eventually died when his own crew left him and he was left begging for food.

9-Edward Teach “Blackbeard”

Famous Pirates

Blackbeard was a given pirate’s name to Edward Teach. An English by nationality, his span was from 1680-1718. He was the commander of four ships and 300 men. He was renowned for his swiftness and ruthless killings of numerous by very fast reflexes. During the gold time of his piracy career, he is known to have conquered over 40 ships in the Caribbean.

One of his most famous battle was the conquering of Scarborough in a fierce sea battle. His career ended in 1718 when he was captured by the Royal Navy and his head was cut off. His head was then mounted on a pole to make other pirates fear for their lives. This shows how famous Blackbeard was as a stature of cruelty.

8-Henry Every

Henry Every also known as Avery was an England born pirate. Born in 1653, he was one of those famous pirates who was renowned for not being captured or killed during their era. Henry wasn’t a pirate from the start. He was part of a serving fleet on several Royal Navy Ships. However, with time, by the early 1690’s he became part of slave trading on the West African coast. He used to keep the slaves captivated under harsh conditions on his own ship.

It might amaze you:

He was the pirate who carried out the single richest loot in history. He and his aliases made attacks on Fateh Muhammed and looted £50,000 worth of gold, jewels and treasure. His loot hunt didn’t stop here and he continued on to loot more than £600,000 and 500,000 solid gold and silver pieces. Following this biggest loot, he went missing and was never seen after the year 1696.

7-Bartholomew Roberts

Famous Pirates

With the birth name of John Roberts, Bartholomew Roberts was born on the 17th of May, 1682. He was a Welsh pirate who was famous for being a cruel yet ingenious pirate. He made successful lootings on more than 400 ships during his era from 1719 and 1722.

It might be of particular interest:

He didn’t opt for being a pirate himself. It was the death of Howell Davie after which he was asked to become the leader of a pirate ship. He was famous for his ruthlessness, cold blooded nature and cruelty. The event of setting a ship on fire with slaves in its hold makes it clear how cruel and ruthless he was.

He kept on making voyages, destroying ships, looting treasure which led him to capture many islands and coasts in the Caribbean and West Indies region. This cruelty was put to an end in 1722 when he was killed in an encounter. His daring and cruel career makes him to the list of most famous pirates in world history.

6-Henry Morgan

Born in 1635, Henry Morgan was a British pirate. He was renowned for his notorious and cruel nature. He ranks in the most notorious pirates in British history. A particular event that sets up his cunning image is the 1667’s attack on Portobelo in Panama City. It is believed that captured Jesuits were used as armours to take down the third strongest fortress in that era. He used almost 30 ships and more than 1200 men to carry out this well-crafted attack.

Following his greatest achievement of conquering Panama City, he was captured and brought to England. However, such was his power that Charles II released him and made him the governor of Jamaica amidst the war that broke out between England and Spain. After this, he retired from his piracy career and lived a well-respected life as a planter. He died in 1688.

5-Anne Bonny

One of the few renowned female pirates of all time, Anne Bonny was an Irish pirate. She was of vicious nature from the point of her marriage. She married James Bonny who was a sailor too. However, James wasn’t the type of sailor she wanted him to be: ruthless and courageous. So this was the point where she joined a group of pirates from Nassau. She joined hands with some other female pirates too and along with men, fought battles and killed many. She started to drink and fight for fun.

It might amaze you:

Despite being a woman at heart, she injected more violence in her fellow pirates. However, soon she found herself captivated along with Rackham’s other men and women. She was sent to jail and then put on trial. The trial was carried out and all the captured pirates were sentenced to death. However, due to pregnancy while in captivation, her death sentence was pardoned. However, her whereabouts aren’t known after this point but many claim that she returned to her homeland to her father or husband.

4-Francois l’Olonnais

Famous Pirates

One of the most famous French pirates, Francois wasn’t a born pirate. He started off as a cultivator before turning towards the viciousness of piracy. He was particularly known for his successful land attacks as a pirate. Examples of his most successful land attacks include conquering of Maracaibo and Venezuela where he looted heavily and made almost 200,000 Spanish dollars.

A very interesting fact:

Despite his shipwreck near Mexico when Spanish soldiers attacked his crew, he was able to save himself by camouflaging himself amongst the dead crew and by hiding under their blood. Following this humiliation, he made a successful escape to Tortuga Island where he ransomed some town residents. The Spanish ruler sent an army to free the captives but only found themselves killed and only one exempted to take the message of defeat and cruelty back to the ruler.

3-Francis Drake

A renowned English pirate who was the first ever Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. His image as a pirate was mixed. British nationals saw him as a hero whereas for the Spanish, he was a pirate. He was secretly ordered by Queen Elizabeth I to attack Spanish colonies and make huge loots. He fought with determination as a pirate and won many sea battles on the way to conquer a new land for Queen Elizabeth on the Pacific Coast.

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This led Queen Elizabeth to formally award him knighthood in 1581. He was the first to induce the trend of piracy in the western coast of Americas which were until then free of piracy. Such was his might that King Philip II offered almost £4 million for his head.

Last but not the least, he ensured safe passage for many captured Englishmen on Roanoke Island which makes him 3rd most famous pirates throughout history. He eventually died with the disease of dysentery in 1596 which followed the unsuccessful campaign in San Juan.

2-Cheung Po Tsai

Cheung Po Tsai was a Chinese pirate who was born to a poor fisherman. In a raid by pirates on his town, he was captured by a pirate and his wife who adopted him and this led him to become a successful pirate himself. The qualities that he consisted were sustainable management and ultimate ruthlessness. He commanded an army of more than 50,000 men and hundreds of ships.

It might be amazing:

He had a personal cave dug out for himself to hide his looted treasure. The cave still is in China named after him. The famous coastline consisting of Shenzhen in Guangdong province was frequently attacked and looted by Cheung.

After several attempts, the Chinese government was finally successful in catching him. However, they soon realized that such a massive manpower can’t be defeated without extensive bloodshed. This is why there was a mutual deal between Cheung and the government. Keeping in view his inexplicable talent of warfare, he was appointed as captain in Qing Imperial Navy. He then worked for Chinese government in helping to make attacks to catch other vicious pirates to maintain law and order.

1-Ching Shih

Famous Pirates

It might be very mind boggling for many that the 1st on the list of most famous pirates throughout history is a Chinese female. Ching Shih also famous as madame cheng, after marrying, she worked alongside her husband as a daunting pirate. Following her husband’s death, she became a stature of piracy might in China. She used three main pirates as the commanders: Cheung Po Tsai, her adopted son Chang Pao and of course herself. With almost 1,800 ships and an army of 70,000 men, she used to carry out robbing activities on islands, towns and became a stature of fear in the South China Sea.

She eventually accepted a contract of amnesty with the Chinese government in return for military jobs and good community status till her death as a casino and brother owner alongside her husband till her death in 1844. She is considered as one of the most famous female pirates throughout history.