What kind of a boy did not play pirates in his childhood? It seems so romantic – to seize other ships in distant seas, experiencing dizzying adventures. However, not only men, but also women were engaged in pirate craft. This has historical confirmation. At the same time, the most successful ladies-pirates sought the secret status of “queens.”
Such women were no less brave, cunning, and sometimes even brutal, than the most famous corsairs of the time. The sea made me able to quickly get rich, see different countries, and there was no shortage of worthy lovers. But only the authorities did not particularly look at the sex of the captured pirates, having completed their justice. About the most famous ladies who chose such a dangerous, but also a romantic craft, and will be discussed.
Alvilda (5th century).
This woman in the history of piracy is one of the first known representatives of the weaker sex. Alvilda waged robbery in the Scandinavian waters as early as the early Middle Ages. The name of this woman is found in all popular stories of piracy. Legends say that this woman was in fact a princess, her father was the king from the island of Gotland. When the monarch decided to marry his daughter to Alpha, the son of the powerful king of Denmark, then Alvilda decided to run away from home and become a pirate. In her predatory voyage the Amazon recruited a team of young women like herself. The robbers changed into men’s clothes, and Alvilda herself became the chief robber in the local waters. Soon, the raids of the brave pirate woman seriously threatened merchant ships and residents of the coastal territories of the Danish kingdom, then Prince Alf himself was sent to fight the robbers. He did not even suspect that he would pursue his failed bride. After the prince killed almost all the pirates, he entered into a duel with their leader. The man was able to defeat the pirate and forced him to surrender. Alf was very surprised when, under the helmet, he discovered the young face of Alvilda, on which he wanted to marry. The girl appreciated the courage of the prince and his fighting skills, giving the consent to marry him. The wedding was played directly on board the pirate ship. Young gave each other vows. The prince promised to love his chosen one forever, and she herself pledged never to go into the sea without a spouse. The truthfulness of this story can be put under doubt. The researchers found that for the first time the legend of Alvilde was told to his readers by the monk Saxo Grammatik, who lived in the XII century. The mention of a pirate woman is found in his “Acts of the Danes.” Was born the same image of Alvilda or thanks to the myths about the Amazons, or the ancient Scandinavian sagas.
Jeanne de Belleville (1300-1359).
If the image of Alvilda is semi-legendary, then the avenger Jeanne de Belleville became the first truly known corsair in terms of history. Approximately in 1335, Jeanne married a second Brittany nobleman, Olivier Klessson. It was a troubled time – the Hundred Years War was going on, and the country was torn apart by internal conflicts. Jeanne’s husband was complicit in the conspiracy and was executed by order of King Philip VI. Loving his wife decided to take revenge for her husband, vowing to do everything possible for this. Jeanne took two of her sons, the oldest was only fourteen years old, and went to England. There she obtained an audience with King Edward III. The monarch gave the avenger a small fleet of three ships, he received the name “Fleet of retribution in the English Channel”. This small flotilla for several years plundered merchant ships, attacking even the warships of France. All the extracted prey was sent to England, and surrendered sailors were simply destroyed. The brave woman personally went on boats in the sea in search of prey, Jeanne among the first rushed to board and led the storming of coastal French castles. Eyewitnesses said that the pirate woman had a good command of both a grappling ax and a saber. The glory of Jeanne de Belleville spread throughout France, where she was nicknamed the bloodthirsty lioness.Parliament even issued a special decree banishing such an unruly subject from the country and confiscating all of its property. The country’s fleet received an order to clear, at last, the English Channel from English pirates. Soon the flotilla of Jeanne was surrounded. She herself threw the pirates and went on a small rowing boat with her sons towards England. Six days the sailors tried to rake up the island, but the current constantly carried them to the sea. It turned out that the escape was so thorough in haste that the pirates forgot to bring water and supplies. Six days later the youngest son de Belleville died, and then several sailors. A few days later the unfortunates carried to the shores of Brittany. Fortunately for Jeanne, she fell in with her beloved husband’s companions. Over time, a brave woman even married again, her chosen one was nobleman Gaultier de Bentley.
Lady Killigra (? -1571).
This pirate woman became a thunderstorm of the same English Channel about two hundred years after the history of Jeanne de Belleville. Lady Mary Killigra managed to lead a double life. In a secular society, the lady was known and respected, as the esteemed wife of the governor, Lord John Killigra, who lived in the port city of Falmet. On the other hand, she secretly commanded pirates who looted merchant ships in Falmet Bay. And such tactics for a long time allowed the lady to act with impunity and covertly. She just never left alive witnesses. Once a Spanish ship entered the bay, heavily laden with goods. The captain and the crew did not have time to recover, as they were captured by pirates. The leader of the Spaniards managed to hide and was surprised to see that a young, beautiful, but very cruel woman commanded the corsairs. The captain managed to escape from the captured ship and get to the shore. In the city of Falmet, he went to the governor to tell him about the attack of pirates. What was the captain’s surprise when he saw the very beauty sitting next to the governor! But Lord Killigra managed two fortresses, which were supposed to ensure a calm sailing of merchant ships in the bay. Then the captain decided to remain silent and went to London. There he told a strange story to the king, who began his own investigation. Unexpectedly it turned out that Lady Killigra had piracy in the blood – her father was the famous pirate Philippe Volvorsten of Sofolka. The very same woman from an early age began to take part in robbery attacks of her father. Marriage with the lord helped her achieve a position in society, and also to form her own pirate team. So Lady Killigrew began to rob ships in the English Channel and coastal waters. The investigation found out exactly how certain ships disappeared, which until then were considered extinct because of mystical forces. Lord Killigrew for indulging the interests of the wife was convicted and executed. Yes, and the lady herself received a death sentence, then replaced by Queen Elizabeth I was not imprisoned for life. Interestingly, ten years later the pirates again appeared under the command of Lady Killigra in the English Channel. This time the daughter-in-law of the executed lord acted.
Grain (Granular) O’Malley (1533-1603).
This pirate woman was, on the one hand, very brave, and on the other – cruel and unfeeling towards her enemies. Rod Grine was from an old Irish family, in which there were many pirates, corsairs or just seafarers. On the ships of the family a flag with a white seahorse and the inscription “Strong on land and at sea” fluttered. According to the legends, Greene O’Malley was born in one year (1533) with the English Queen Elizabeth I. They write that the Irish even met with her crowned coeval couple a couple of times, although in life women fought each other. Already from an early age, Greene showed a militant character. When the father refused to take her for the first time in the sea, the girl cut off her luxurious hair – a symbol of female beauty. So her nickname “Bald Grine” appeared.In sea voyages, she also learned languages, she knew Latin very well. Soon the brave girl rallied herself to the most select pirates and corsairs and began to plunder the lands of people hostile to her clan. Greene decided to get rich in this way. Over time, she either won the battle of her half-brother and became the leader of the clan, or else she simply married corsair O’Flaherty, leading his fleet. I must say that even being a pirate, Grine managed to give birth to three children. After the death in the husband’s battle, the widow managed to keep her war fleet, besides the relatives gave her the island of Clare for a pirate base. And the inconsolable woman did not stay. At first Greene was comforted in the arms of the young aristocrat Hugh de Lacey, fifteen years younger than herself. After him, the new husband of a brave woman became Lord Burke, nicknamed Iron Richard. The fact is that on the Mayo coast, only his castle was not captured by her. This marriage lasted only a year. The pirate divorced was very original – she simply locked herself in the castle and shouted from the stake to Richard Burke that he was leaving him. Greene showed her rebellious character even at a meeting with Queen Elizabeth. At first, she refused to bow to her, not recognizing the queen of Ireland. Yes, and a dagger rebel somehow managed to carry with him. As a result of that meeting, it was possible, if not to attract Greene to the royal service, to conclude at least the appearance of a peace agreement. Over time, the pirate again began its activities, trying not to harm England. Grain O’Malley died in 1603 in one year with the queen. Ann Bonnie (1700-1782).
And this native of Ireland was able to enter the history of piracy. At five years old, thanks to her father, the lawyer William Cormac, was sent to North America. The case took place in 1705. And already at the age of 18 Ann was known as a beauty with a stormy and unpredictable temperament. She was considered an enviable bride and the father began to look after rich suitors. But the girl met a sailor James Bonnie and fell in love with him. Father interfered with the relationship, which is why the young couple got married and left for the island of New Providence. But love soon passed and Anne began to live with the captain of the pirate ship John Rackham. He, not to part with his passion, dressed her in men’s clothes and took to his service as a sailor. Anne became a pirate sloop “Dragon”, cruising between the Bahamas and the Antilles. In the moments of boarding merchant ships, Ann even hit the elite pirates with her courage. She was merciless to her enemies, rushing first into the thick of battle. And after the end of the battle, Ann personally dealt with the prisoners, doing this extremely cruelly. Even the pirates hardened in battles were frightened of such sadism of the young sailor who, in occasion of and without him, grabbed a knife and a pistol. They did not know that their companion was a woman. After some time Anne became pregnant, and the captain dropped her ashore, leaving her friend in the care. Having given birth, the woman left the guardian of her young child and returned to the pirates. There she and the captain decided to tell the pirates the truth. And although the team remembered what the woman on the ship means, especially pirated, the riot did not take place. After all, everyone remembered how bloodthirsty and cruel Anne was. Yes, and her behavior, and advice often saved the pirates. And in one of the attacks, “Dragon” captured an English ship. The young sailor Mac liked Anne, who decided to sleep with him. But he, too, was a woman, an Englishwoman Mary Reed. She also became a pirate no less famous than her friend. In 1720, Anne Bonnie, along with the accomplices, was caught. The execution of a woman was constantly postponed because of her pregnancy. They say that his father managed to redeem his disobedient daughter and return home. Once the storm of the seas died in 1782, at the venerable age, giving birth to another nine children in the second quiet marriage. Jaco Delahay (XVII century).
This lady led the activities of the French privatier in the 17th century. And she was born in exotic Haiti, however, the girl’s father was not a native, but a Frenchman.In the history of piracy, Jaco Delahay remained a woman of extraordinary beauty. It is believed that she chose the path of the pirate after the death of her father. In fact, it was the only person close to her. Mother died while giving birth, and the elder brother was mentally handicapped, left in the care of his sister. Jacques Delahay had to enter the ship of his father-sailor on board and become a robber. It happened in the 1660s. Over time, to hide from the pursuers, the pirate staged her own death. At one time, Jacquot changed her name and lived in a man’s guise. Returning, she earned the nickname “Redhead from the Dead”, thanks to her beautiful fiery red hair.
Anna Die-Le-Vaud (Mary Ann, Marianne) (1650-?).
This French pirate woman was born in the middle of the 17th century. It is believed that from Europe to the colonial land it was taken out as a criminal. On Tortuga, a woman appeared in 1665-1675, when Governor Bertrand Dogeron De La Carte reigned there. On this island, the famous pirate sanctuary, Mary Ann married the corsair Pierre Lengs. In 1683, he died in a duel at the hands of the famous pirate Lawrence de Graff. Then Marianne called him also to the duel. According to some information, the reason was not the death of the spouse, but personal insults. But the fight did not take place, Lawrence stated that he was not going to fight a woman. But admiring her courage, he invited Marianne to become his wife. In fact, de Graff was officially already married, so that Marianne became his concubine and mistress. You can really call Anna a pirate, as she followed her husband everywhere and fought alongside him. Similarly behaved and Ann Bonnie. However, unlike her, Dieu-Le-Vault did not hide her sex, which is why she attracted attention, provoking universal respect and even admiration. It is believed that the pirate Marianne was brave, severe and ruthless. She even had the nickname “Anna – God’s Will.” And although it is believed that the woman on the ship brings misfortune, Marianne it did not concern. It seemed that pirates were lucky with her. In 1693, her husband took part in the capture of Jamaica for which he received the title of Chevalier and the rank of senior lieutenant. But a year later the British attacked Tortuga – Anna, along with her two daughters, was taken prisoner and was held hostage for three years. The family was reunited only in 1698. The fate of the pirates is then lost, they say that they even became colonists in the Mississippi. But there is one interesting story, dated 1704 year. There is evidence that it was then Anna, along with her husband Lawrence, who attacked the Spanish ship. The man was killed by the nucleus, then the command of the pirates took on Marianne. Unfortunately, the robbers were smaller, they lost the battle. All pirates were sent to penal servitude, but the name of their leader was too famous. The news of the arrest of Anna through the French naval secretary reached Louis XIV himself, who asked the Spanish king to intervene. As a result, the pirate woman was released. And one of her daughters lived in Haiti and became famous for having won a man in a duel.
Ingela Hammar (1692-1729).
This woman served as a privateer for the Swedish King Charles XII during his Northern War in the early 18th century. In 1711, a 19-year-old girl married a pirate Lars Gatenhilma, who officially received permission from the king to rob the enemy merchant ships. But the privateer robbed everything that was encountered on his way. In the future, her husband, Ingela, knew her from childhood, their union had long been approved by the parents. This marriage was happy, it gave birth to five children. There is every reason to believe that Ingela was not just a beloved wife who was waiting for her husband on the beach, but also a faithful companion in his activities. Perhaps it was Ingela who was the brain of all the cunning operations of Lars, who stood behind all his activities. Most of the operations were planned on the basis in Gothenburg and from there it was managed the same. And in 1715 the family earned a huge fortune.In 1718, Lars died, and his privateering passed into the inheritance of Ingele. During the war, she further expanded her husband’s empire of empire. It is no coincidence that the Swede was even nicknamed the queen of navigation. But after the conclusion of a peace agreement with Denmark in 1720 and Russia in 1721, there was no one to fight. In 1722, the former pirate remarried, and died in 1729. She was buried by Ingmar Hammar next to her first husband. Mary Lindsey (1700-1745).
This Englishwoman was born in 1700 and her pirate activities are also connected with her husband’s name. Eric Cobham robbed ships in the Bay of St. Lawrence, and the base of it was located on the island of Newfoundland. The couple became famous for their cruelty on the verge of sadism. The pirates preferred to sink the captured ships, and all the crew members were either killed or used as targets for shooting exercises. Such a career of corsairs lasted for the couple from 1720 to 1740. After this, the couple decided to start a new life in France. In Europe, the Cobham couple became respected in society, Eric even managed to get the post of judge. That’s only for Maria so a respectable life was not to his liking, and she just went mad. Whether a woman committed suicide, or whether her husband killed her. And before his death, Eric Cobham told all his sins to the priest, asking him to tell everyone the story of his life. The book came out shameful and exposing, and the descendants even tried to redeem and destroy the entire print run. But the copy remained in the national archive of Paris.
Rachel Wall (1760-1789).
The death penalty in many American states has long since been abolished. The last one who was hanged in Massachusetts was Rachel Wall. Perhaps, this is the first woman born in America, who became a pirate. And she was born in a family of devout believers in provincial Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Life on a country farm did not like Rachel, which is why she chose to move to the city. One day a girl was attacked in the port, and some George Wall saved her. The guy and the girl fell in love and got married, although Rachel’s parents were against it. The young people moved to Boston, where George became a sailor on a fishing schooner, and his wife became a servant. The family was always short of money, so George W. Wall offered his friends to be pirated. At first the crew, along with Rachel, was operating on the island of Scholes, near the coast of New Hampshire. The girl on the deck of the schooner portrayed the victim of the shipwreck. When the boats came with rescuers, the pirates killed them and robbed them. In 1781-1782, Wall’s spouses, together with their accomplices, seized twelve boats and earned 6,000 dollars and a lot of valuables. 24 people were killed. But in the end, George Wall, like most of his team, died in a violent storm. Rachel had to return to Boston and resume work there as a servant. But the robber did not forget her past, from time to time stealing boats in the docks. And when you try to rob a young lady Margaret Bender bandit caught. September 10, 1789 Rachel Wall was convicted of robbery, but she asked to be tried as a pirate. The authorities agreed, although the woman did not kill anyone. On October 8, Rachel was hanged, having lived only 29 years. Charlotte Badger (1778 -1816).
There were women pirates in the history of Australia. The very first is considered to be Charlotte Badger, who was born in English Worcestershire. She went down in history also by becoming one of the first two white female settlers in New Zealand. An Englishwoman was born into a poor family to feed herself, she began to engage in petty theft. In 1796, the girl was caught trying to steal a silk handkerchief and several coins. For this, she was sentenced to seven years of hard labor in New South Wales, Australia. There she began working at a women’s factory and even gave birth to a daughter. Together with the child in 1806, Charlotte boarded the ship “Venus”, planning to find work in the colonies.The captain of the ship, Samuel Chase, turned out to be a cruel man and loved to beat women with whips just for fun. Badger, along with his girlfriend, also an exile, Catherine Hagerty, did not want to endure the bullying of the sadist and persuaded the passengers to rebel. Having seized the ship, the women, together with their lovers, went to New Zealand, choosing the difficult fate of the first settlers. There is information that the rebels from the “Venus”, along with two women and their lovers engaged in piracy. However, this venture quickly failed, because in the nautical business the rebels did not understand anything. There is a story that the ship was captured by the Maori natives. They burned the ship, eating or killing crew members. Catherine Hagerty died of a fever, but the fate of Charlotte Badger, a pirate loser, remained unknown. It is believed that she managed to hide on the island, and then join the crew of an American whaler.