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The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

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Pirates have been around since 1241, and still exist today. They may seem like myths but pirates have been around for quite a long time. Here are 5 of the real pirates of the Caribbean.

#1: The Barbarossa Brothers

Aruj and Hizir Barbarossa (Barbarossa meaning “red beard” in Italian) sailed North Africa’s Barbary Coast. They became rich by capturing European ships around the Mediterranean Sea. They took on Spanish ships around the time Aruj lost one of his arms in a battle. In 1516 Aruj was put in charge of the entire Barbary Coast by the Ottoman sultan. After Aruj died, his brother, Hizir, took his position. Hizir spent the rest of his days destroying his enemies and defeating Christian fleets.

#2: Captain Kidd

Captain William Kidd wasn’t always a pirate. In fact, he was hunting pirates before he became one himself. He spent his time capturing vessels, but after one incident, his crew’s numbers dropped and he sailed to New York’s Gardiners Island to bury treasure. Kidd was arrested by the British before he made it back to England where he was executed. As a warning to other pirates, Kidd’s body was displayed on the banks of the River Thames.

#3: Blackbeard

Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, found interesting ways to intimidate his enemies. He braided smoking fuses in his facial hair and slung many guns and swords across his chest. He captured a French slave ship, later known as the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and added 40 guns. With that ship, he held the port of Charleston, South Carolina until they gave him a large chest of medicine. Legend says that when Blackbeard finally died, he received 5 gunshots and 20 sword lacerations.

#4: Calico Jack

Calico Jack, born Jack Rackam, received a pardon for his previous piracy acts, but sailed once more. He set out with a 12 gun sloop from Nassau harbor in the Bahamas. In his crew were two of the only women pirates to sail the Caribbean, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. In 1720, Rackam’s drunk crew was defeated by pirate hunters. Supposedly only Read, Bonny, and one man  fought back, but Rackam was arrested and executed. The women escaped the noose because they were pregnant. Read died soon after and Bonny was never seen again.

#5: Madame Cheng

Madame Cheng’s husband, Cheng Yih, formed the largest pirate confederation in history. After his death, Cheng took over the confederation, and made it even bigger. At the peak of her career, she controlled 1,800 ships and 70,000 men. She demanded protection money from coastal communities, kidnapped 7 British sailors, and attacked ships in the south China sea. She took a pardon in 1810 when China began to constrain the piracy. She lived out the rest of her life running an opium smuggling operation.

Sources:

http://www.history.com/news/8-real-life-pirates-who-roved-the-high-seas

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/26/travel/the-real-pirates-of-the-caribbean/

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