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6 real pirates of the Caribbean

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Jack Rackham, aka Calico Jack
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Jack Rackham, aka Calico Jack

Jack Rackham was not an especially ruthless pirate nor was he notably successful. What keeps Calico Jack in the forefront among his peers is that two of his crew — and likely the fiercest — were women. Rackham met Anne Bonny, the wife of a smuggler, in The Bahamas. The two fell in love, and when attempts to buy Bonny from her husband failed, Bonny joined Rackham’s crew as a pirate. Rackham and his crew soon captured a ship and gave that crew the option of joining him. Among the new additions was a magnificent swordsman. Over time, Bonny and this new crewman would forge a close relationship. When Rackham’s jealousy drove him into a rage, Bonny divulged that the new sailor was also a woman named Mary Read.

History has well documented that Rackham attacked several ships where Bonny and Read fought viciously and openly as women. The pair quickly became legendary throughout the Caribbean. As Rackham’s notoriety started to pale in comparison to his unusual crew, he began to succumb to alcohol. At the time of Rackham’s defeat, an already drunken crew (with the exception of Bonny and Read) panicked when the main mast was shot down. With defeat eminent, the crew dashed belowdecks to finish off the rum, knowing it would be the last they would ever have.

It is reported that Rackham was granted a last request to see Bonny before his execution. Still seething, she is quoted as saying, “I’m sorry to see you here, but had you fought like a man, you needn’t hang like a dog.”

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