Funny Pirate Jokes, Yarns and Trivia
Pirates believed that wearing 'pierced' earrings would improve their eyesight - strange Will and Guy think.
Walking the Plank
Hollywood, Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' and the story of Peter Pan, are responsible for perpetuating the myth that pirates used to kill their enemies by making them 'walk the plank.'
The fact, it is hard to imagine that real pirates such as Captain Kidd would waste time killing someone by drowning in this fashion. A quick throw overboard would suffice. If a buccaneer wished to be cruel, or wanted to torture their victim, then Keel-hauling would be more effective.
Another reason why 'walking the plank' is lionised is because of Howard Pyle's illustrations in the 19th Century. The picture (see right) first appeared in Harper's Monthly in 1887.
Captain Morgan, typifies the buccaneer spirit. He also typified how both the establishment and history blurred line between good and bad. If you were English and you robbed ships belonging to enemy countries such as Spain, then you were a good privateer. But if you looted English or allied ships, then you were bad pirate. In 1673 Captain Morgan stood trial for piracy, however instead of being convicted, the King (Charles II) intervened personally, knighted Captain Morgan, and then made him governor of Jamaica.
Captain Kidd, the scourge of the Indian ocean. Famously, Captain Kidd was hanged in London in 1701; his body was then dipped in tar, and displayed on the bank of the river Thames as a deterrent to would be pirates.
Blackbeard, terrorised the American coasts in the early 18th centaury. Killed in 1718 by Lieutenant Maynard of the Royal Navy (Pre-independence).
Fascinating Pirate Facts from Will and Guy
Did You Know There Are Four Different Types of Pirate:
The Barbary states were semi-autonomous Muslim cities along the coast from which the pirates hailed. Their chief claim to fame is the cruel manner in which they treated Christian captives, who were chained to the benches of Corsair galleys and made to row nonstop for hours on end. If the rower quit, he was mercilessly whipped to death and tossed to the waves.
Corsair forts were known to be places where prisoners were maltreated in a great variety of ways; including being tossed onto hooks which were imbedded in the outer wall of the fort's gate and left to rot in the hot sun.
Privateers also used their vessels to help protect their country in the event of war. As Samuel Johnson's dictionary definitions make clear, in the eighteenth century 'the difference between a pirate and a privateer was as thin as the piece of paper bearing a royal letter of marque.'
The red colour signified that no life would be spared in a battle. Will and Guy can reveal that in Will's home town of Portsmouth, England an extremely rare 18th Century red "Jolly Roger" pirate flag has gone on display at Portsmouth's navy museum.
The flag was captured in battle off the North African coast in 1780 by one Lieutenant Richard Curry, Royal Navy, who later became an admiral.
Pirates used skull and crossbones flags to frighten passing ships into surrendering without a fight. The flag is on show at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The red background - rather than black - signified the pirates intended to spare no life if a battle broke out during a ship's capture.
When it was restored at the Winchester School of Art's Textile Conservation Centre in 2007, gunpowder and small holes with charred edges were found on the flag. The Jolly Roger has been loaned to the museum by its current owner Pamela Curry, a descendant of Lt Curry.
The Jolly Roger is the most famous pirate flag. The skull and cross bones came from the symbol used in ships' logs, where it represented death on board. It was first used as pirate flag around 1700 and quickly became popular.
As piracy developed, more flags were used, and pirates often had their own versions, such as a skull and crossed swords. The title Jolly Roger is thought to come from the French phrase "joli rouge" which means "pretty red" explains Will.
Will and Guy have researched some vocabulary that you may enjoy using in your conversations:
A seven-year-old boy who was told to take down his pirate flag by a Lincolnshire council has received a letter of apology. The young lad, who has Asperger's syndrome, was told his Jolly Roger breached planning regulations.
East Lindsey District Council said it had acted after a complaint was made about the flag. However, it has now sent the family an official apology saying no further action would be taken.
In a letter, the authority said it wanted to 'take the opportunity to apologise to you formally for the severity of the letter you received in relation to the pirate flag you were flying in the garden for your son, Anthony. When we receive a planning related complaint, the council has a duty to write to make those concerned aware, but accept on this occasion our letter was over the top.'
A good thing too, say Will and Guy.
Jackson saw an old seafaring friend walking along the sea front at Southsea. 'Hello Harry,' he said, 'How are you?' It was only then that Jackson realised that Harry only had one leg!
'What happened to you?' he inquired. 'My wife left me so I jumped in front of a train but it only took my leg off.'
Jackson then noticed that Harry only had one hand and in its place was a hook. 'What happened to your hand?' he asked.
Jackson, again noticed that Harry also had a glass eye. 'What's up with your eye?' he asked, this time with considerable trepidation.
'Well,' said the Harry, 'after two attempts to take my life I thought God doesn't want me to die, so I looked to the sky and said 'thank you, God', and a passing seagull made a deposit right in my eye ! ! !
'But you can't loose an eye through bird muck.' insisted Jackson.
Harry looked down at the floor and said, 'I'd only had the hook for three days!'
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