When one thinks of pirates, they picture the famous pirates from cartoons or the infamous Jack Sparrow from Pirates of The Caribbean. It is hard to imagine that real-life pirates roamed the seas taking treasures as they pleased and lived like free men who did not answer to anyone. There are, however real-life notorious pirates that lived and where feared in their time.

The Notorious Pirates

  • Blackbeard

Blackbeard sounds like a character from a movie but believe it or not he was a real sea thief. Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard was well known for his unorthodox theatrics, which put fear in the hearts of his enemies. It is reported that he would put a lit fuse into his beard and would walk around slinging multiple guns and knives. One of his most notorious acts was to steal a French vessel called La Concorde and rename it to Queen Anne’s Revenge. This French vessel was equipped with forty powerful guns, which made it one of the deadliest ships owned by a pirate. He died a few years later after a fatal fight with the British navy where he suffered multiple stab wounds and gunshot wounds.

  • The Barbarossa Brothers

These brothers are written in the history books as one of the most notorious pirates. It is said that they gained their wealth and fame from raiding European vessels. They mostly operated around the Northern Coast in Africa where many vessels with precious goods sailed through. They began targeting Spanish ships due to all the gold they would carry. One of the brothers lost his arm through a vicious battle with the Spanish. After one of the brothers died, the other one was forced to flee and spend most of his time fighting a special task force formed by the Pope called the Holy League.

  • Sir Francis Drake.

This pirate was fairly different from the other pirates who were labelled bandits. This is because he was specially licensed by the Queen herself (Queen Elizabeth i) to raid Spanish ships. He was even nicknamed “My Pirate” due to the work he was doing for the Kingdom. From 1577 – 1580 he intensified his attacks on the Spanish by defeating a number of their ships and capturing a lot of treasure. He was instrumental in defeating the famous Spanish Armada. He was knighted due to all of his magnificent work which delighted the Queen.

  • L’Olonnais

L’Olonnais was a well-known buccaneer. Buccaneers were hybrid pirates that were sponsored by the state to be privateers. He was also an outlaw which made him a very powerful and feared pirate as he had some protection. It is said that in his pursuit to raid the Spanish, he exhibited a high level of cruelty, one that left all his enemies shaking and afraid to cross his for fear of their lives. He would tie a noose around peoples necks so tight that their eyes would pop out or chop up his victims into tiny pieces. Rumours also claim that he even cut out and ate the heart of a crew member who he suspected of selling him out. As the saying goes “live by the sword and die by the sword” L’Olonnais suffered the same fate. Some of his rivals captured him, and it is said that he was eaten by cannibals.