Yarrrr! Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, matey! We lasses here at 3 Chic Geeks be celebratin’ this fine day by drinking grog and paying tribute to ye olde pirates. Whether they be fictional or historical, here lie our favorite pirates of yore.
1. Grace O’Malley
We’re not sure who started the “women are bad luck” on ships nonsense, but clearly they had never heard of Grace O’Malley (Irish: Gráinne Ní Mháille). Not only was she the leader of the the Ó Mháille clan in her own right, she was also the most famous female pirate to have ever lived. This here was a woman who led men and even allegedly verbally sparred with another great woman in her time – Queen Elizabeth I. She has rightfully become a staple in Irish folklore and is often referred to as the Pirate Queen.
2. Hook (Peter Pan/OUaT)
Whether you enjoy the original story, the animated Disney film, or one of the many incarnations since, Captain Hook is the most iconic fictional pirate of all time. And, in recent years, he’s been pretty darn sexy as well. We wouldn’t mind getting recruited for his ship.
3. Jack Sparrow
And what list would be complete without the pirate who made pirates cool again? Captain Jack Sparrow is the pirate we all aspire to be these days… well, sort of. We could do without all of the shenanigans and promising of our soul to Davy Jones. Today is the day to break out the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and relive all of Sparrow’s glory. What’s that you say? A fourth film? Oh, no no. You must be mistaken. There are only three, savvy?
Edward Teach is quite possibly the most famous pirate to have actually existed. This has less to do with him being a particularly ruthless pirate as it did with him knowing how to create a fearsome image. In fact, it is said that Teach did not encourage the use of force, contrary to modern views of pirates. Teach was eventually killed in battle by Robert Maynard, though his legacy continues to live on to this day.
5. Ching Shih
Listen, this woman right here was a BAMF and there’s no two ways about it. Ching Shih was one of the most feared pirates of her time and well-respected by her crew… or, at least well-feared. You see, this woman governed her ship with a strict code. Rules included not dispensing one’s own orders (you would be killed), not stealing from the treasury (you would be flogged for a first offense, and thereafter killed), not cheating on one’s wife if you took one and not violating female prisoners (you would be killed! And if it was consensual, you would both be killed!). You have to admire a woman who raised her status in the world by being as ruthless as the men. She’s also one of the only pirates to have retired from piracy rather than being killed. You go Ching Shih!
6. Dread Pirate Roberts
The Princess Bride may not be a strictly pirate film, but it still features one of our favorite pirates of all time. Westley disappears and reappears as the Dread Pirate Roberts, a witty and talented rogue with a charming smile to boot. Plus, he returns to rescue his one true love from a terrible marriage. D’aww.
7. John “Calico Jack” Rackham
Calico Jack Rackham was a Cuban-English pirate who sailed in the Caribbean during the end of the golden age of piracy. Today, he is remembered for having had not one, but two female crew members. He also created the modern Jolly Roger, and that’s pretty dang cool. Rackham was captured in 1720 and hanged after only a short two-year stint as a pirate.
8. Anne Bonny and Mary Read
Anne Bonny and Mary Read are two of the most remembered female pirates and were members of Calico Jack’s crew. Anne Bonny came from a relatively wealthy family though she was disowned when she married a small-time pirate. She soon became disenchanted with her husband and began an affair with Calico Jack. Her husband attempted to have her punished and Jack offered to buy her freedom. However, Bonny refused to be bought and sold like a possession and ended up running off with Calico Jack.
It is said that Mary Read joined Jack’s crew while disguised as a man. Bonny became increasingly attracted to Read who was then forced to reveal her true identity. Jack grew jealous of Bonny and Read’s friendship until he too was informed of the truth. Read went on to become a valuable crew member.
When Jack and his crew were caught, the two women escaped hanging by claiming to be pregnant. Read died of a fever related to her pregnancy, while Anne Bonny seemingly vanished. It’s said that her freedom was likely arranged by her wealthy father.
9. Mal Reynolds
We had to include at least ONE space pirate on our list, and the spot went to none other than Captain Mal. While the crew of the Serenity may not seem like pirates, in truth most historical pirates were smugglers and privateers. Here’s to Captain Mal, one of the kindest (space) pirates to have ever existed.
10. Isabela (Dragon Age)
Once sold into a loveless marriage by her own mother, Isabela had her husband murdered, stole his ship, and became one of the most feared pirates in the Eastern Seas. Known for her rogue status, sharp wit, and her promiscuous nature, Isabela is a piratess who can easily run with the boys. And probably out-sail them.