There was a time where Pirates ruled the sea. Some even became presidentes of small countries in the caribbean!. These are the most famous pirates tha ever lived.
Francois L’Ollonais is known as one of the cruelest Buccaneers of all time. Born in France, as a young man he was sold as a slave to a master who took him to the Caribbean. Ten years later he joined the buccaneers robbing and eliminating the Spanish.
The governor of Tortuga was also a buccaneer and gave him a small ship to command. He became one of the first to orchestrate land attacks. After his shipwrecked of the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, local Spanish soldiers came and eliminated all of the surviving crew members except for L’Ollonais. He covered himself with his companions, smothering himself with their blood. He then dressed as a Spaniard and escaped.
He and a new partner, Michel de Basco gathered an army of 600 buccaneers and ships.
Amongst his most successful plunders was the town of Maracaibo, Venezuela, where he ravaged and stole his way into historical infamy, bothering almost every citizen and holding the city for ransom. He burned prisoners alive and is even known for ripping out someone’s heart and eating it. The end of his own life, however, was equally gruesome. Legend has it that in Nicaragua, he was captured by a local tribe who cut him up into little pieces and ate him.
Ching Shih was the most successful female pirates and commanded 80,000 outlaws. She married Cheng I, a dangerous pirate during the Qing dynasty. He had united many rival pirates under the Red Flag Fleet of pirate ships. Apparently, he had been looking for her because news had gotten around that she was a very savvy businesswoman.
Ching Shih became an equal partner commanding the pirate fleet. When Cheng died 6 years later, his adopted son and lover, yes, her husband’s lover, was supposed to inherit the fleet. However, he became Ching Shih’s lover and they got married instead and Ching maintained her leadership of the fleet.
Pirate vessels often had a few women on board, and unlike in the West, in South China, there was no stigma attached to women being on board a ship, or being bad luck. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t have been easy for anyone, much less a pirate’s widow, to control so many outlaws.
She enforced a strict code of conduct among the men and her fleet robbed and extorted towns, plundering ships along the coast of the South China Sea. The Red Flag Fleet under Ching Shih’s rule went undefeated, despite attempts by Qing dynasty officials, the Portuguese navy, and the East India Company to quash it. After three years, Ching Shih finally retired in 1810 by accepting an offer of amnesty from the Chinese government.
Her pirates were able to keep their riches and were given military jobs. She lived out her 69 years in charge of a casino and brothel with her husband.
Aruj and Hizir may not sound familiar, but the name Barbarossa is sure to make you imagine images of fierce, red-bearded pirates. The brothers became rich by capturing European vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. Born on the island of Lesbos in Greece in the 1470´s Aruj made a living by attacking Aegean ships and then left to join his brother. Together along with their band of Barbary pirates they would attack and plunder cities and ships along the North African coast, taking whatever they wanted. Arouj and Kheir-ed-din Barbarossa were faithful Muslims who were loyal to the Turkish government at the time. Their most lucrative early victims included two papal galleys and a Sardinian warship, which would come back to try to find him. When Aruj lost an arm to the Spanish in battle, the Barbarossa brothers began targeting them as their hated Christian enemies.
In 1516 the Ottoman Sultan put Aruj in charge of the entire Barbary coast which Hizir took over following his brother’s end two years later at the hands of the Spanish.
Hizir took on the position of Sultan of Algiers and with his alliance to the Ottoman Emperor commanded the resources of the empire, allowing him to defend the Barbary Coast while attacking Spanish areas. Hizir spent the rest of his life battling Christian forces, most notably a ‘Holy League’ fleet formed by the pope himself to destroy him. He deceased in 1547 having amassed territory across North Africa which extended the Ottoman control over most of the Mediterranean.
Calico Jack, English
English pirate John Rackham, was better known as Calico Jack for his brightly-colored clothes made of Indian cloth.