Aug. 15, 2022



Ahoy there ye scurvy dogs! Batten the hatches and swab the deck! I’m your host Steve…I’m Phil…and I’m Leah today we’ll be talking about all things Piratey.

INTRO   Let’s talk about pirates! Phil, what comes to mind when you hear the word pirate?

I have to tell you that raising a bunch of boys, we had a lot of books and toys centered around pirates. And whenever I would dress up for whatever Halloween thing my kids were doing I almost always went as a pirate. I had all the clothes I used when I worked for the Renaissance festival so it was easy to add a few other things to make it a really awesome pirate costume. In fact,...Halloween story….

According to Webster, piracy is the practice of attacking and robbing ships on the high seas. In popular culture terms we tend to associate piracy with the 17th and 18th centuries, the so-called golden age of pirates. But actually piracy goes back to much earlier times, and also extends to modern days.

There are other sorts of pirates as well. A Privateer for example is a person or a ship that has been commissioned by a government in a time of war to attack and plunder merchant ships. especially merchant ships of the enemy country. Basically it’s legal piracy. But only legal according to the country the privateer is working for. If they are caught by another country, well that’s not good. Pirates and privateers did not usually spend a lot of time in prison. Most often they were quickly sentenced to death.

Another term for a pirate is ‘Buccaneer.’ According to a blog post on the website Buccaneer is used synonymously with the idea of the 17th-18th century Caribbean pirates, but it actually means something quite specific.

The Caribbean began to be colonized by Spain in the 16th century. Later when other nations like France, England and the Netherlands started trying to settle in the Caribbean the Spanish didn’t like it too much and refused to trade with them. The only people who would trade with these nations were social outcasts like mulattos, Native Americans and shipwreck survivors who largely lived in the wild.

These people sold supplies like water and meat to the non-Spaniards, who started calling them “Boucaniers.” The exact definition of the French term Boucaniers is not known but according to Cotgrave’s 1611 French/English Dictionary, the closely related word Boucane’ translates as a wooden gridiron used to cook meat. Just like what these outcasts used. Also, the French verb “boucaner” meant “to hang around with lowlives” or “to imitate a foul tempered billy goat.” The two words got meshed together to create the word Buccaneer meaning someone of a lowly station or an outsider. 

Anyone that wanted to fight the Spanish would hire these Boucaneirs as mercenaries. By 1680, the term Buccaneer was being used to describe not just the locals but any Pirate or Privateer in general. As a result, the Buccaneer was a Pirate or Privateer operating in the Caribbean during the late 17th century and early 18th century. And in that case Captain Jack Sparrow would have been a Buccaneer. 

Thanks to the blog post by Brian Whitenton on

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According to a terrific website called the earliest recorded instance of piracy dates from the 13th Century BC when the so-called Sea People targeted Egyptian traders in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. These pirates took not only goods and cargo, but also captured the ship’s crew to sell into slavery. 

During the 1st Century B.C. pirates from Cicilia (Sicily) controlled much of the Mediterranean and even managed to capture a young Julius Caesar on one of his first sea journeys. The Roman Senate organized a military fleet of ships that managed to put the Sicilian pirates out of business for a while. Later, in 286 A.D. the Romans appointed a commander named Carausius to protect the English Channel from Franks and Saxon pirates. In the 4th Century A.D. the young man who would later be known as St Patrick was captured by pirates and forced to work for six years in Ireland.

In other parts of the world the Chinese Han Dynasty collapsed in the early 3rd Century A.D. and for the next 300 years there was no central government in China. This lack of authority emboldened pirates who created havoc in the seaways and even rivers of China and other parts of East Asia. 

Now you might want to classify the Vikings of the 9th – 11th Centuries as pirates, however Vikings did not generally attack other ships at sea. Rather they sailed along coastal areas in Western Europe and raided villages by turning their half-starved Great Danes loose on the towns they wanted to attack. Nice Fellows! However, by the 14th Century piracy in Western Europe had become so bad that the French and English stopped fighting each other and joined together to rid their common coastal waters of pirates based from North Africa. 

Back in Asia a group called the Wokou Pirates formed in Japan in the 14th Century. They regularly raided the coasts of China and Korea. That is until the Ming Dynasty grew strong enough to fight them off. 

By the 16th century new shipping routes to India and to the Caribbean allowed pirates to prey on the rich new shipping lines. Spanish vessels bringing gold, jewels, and other valuables from the New World back to Spain were prime targets of pirates. In the fifteen years between 1623 and 1638 over 500 Spanish and Portuguese ships were captured by pirates. Most of the accounts of pirates that we will deal with in this episode are from the 17th and 18th Centuries. But we should also mention that pirates were still common throughout the world in the 19th century, and even as recently as 2005 a civil war in Somalia fostered pirate raids on ships exiting the Suez Canal off the Horn of Africa. Remember the movie, Captain Phillips?

Pirate Myths

On a terrific website sponsored by the Museum of Arts and Sciences ( we find a great article titled Pirate Myths and East Coast Florida Pirates written by James Zacharias who is the senior curator of Education and History. We are grateful to Mr. Zacharias for granting us permission to quote directly from his excellent article. 

If you have ever mimicked pirate speak by saying “Arrrgh!” or “Shiver me timbers!” you are incorrect. Pirates most likely never really spoke like that. Those are Hollywoodized notions. In reality though, no one knows exactly how pirates spoke because they never wrote down their vernacular speech. In spite of that, International Talk Like A Pirate Day will be celebrated this year on September 19. (On a previous episode we mentioned that this revered holiday was began in 1995 when two buddies from Albany, Oregon, nicknamed Cap;n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket, decided to talk like pirates while playing racquetball. 

Another famous pirate myth is treasure maps leading to buried treasure. There has only been one documented case of pirates burying their treasure, and we will discuss that toward the end of this episode. The truth is, pirates rarely possessed gold – they stole items like tools, rope, food, clothing, and general merchant cargo. If they managed to acquire any money, they immediately spent it in port on gambling, liquor, and women. If pirates did bury their ill-gotten gains on a lonely island, they would have difficulty relocating it because changing inlets and shifting sands would make this nearly impossible.

Another favorite myth is that pirates made their prisoners walk the plank. This is a total fabrication made for fiction with no basis in history. If they wanted to get rid of you for breaking ship rules they just threw you overboard or abandoned you on a desert island with no water.

What about the real life of pirates? What we know from the fragmented historical record is that most pirates were young men with a life expectancy of around 26 years of age. Many of them were people who did not fit into normal society and taking to the sea offered a freedom they could not attain in a royal navy or on a merchant ship where mundane routine was the order of the day. Most pirates were sailors from the lower class who became disillusioned with life under unfair and unforgiving conditions and harsh taskmasters. As pirates they could be their own boss and choose their own life.

EYEPATCHES     While we are on the subject of myths, everyone knows that any self respecting pirate wore an eyepatch over one eye. It could mean that they lost an eye during a bloody swashbuckling battle or did pirates perhaps wear a patch over an actual good and intact eye? According to several websites there’s an ingenious reason why.

It’s been speculated that the wearing of an eyepatch over one of their eyes enabled a pirate to quickly adjust to the darkness below deck. You’ve likely experienced this problem if you have ever walked into a dark place like a theater from the bright outdoors. Or walked from a dark theater out into the sunshine. It takes a bit of time for your eyes to adjust. Adapting from light to darkness or from darkness to light can take the human eye as long as 25 minutes.

So the current theory is that pirates would use one eye--say the right eye-- in the bright sunshine of the upper deck and leave their left eye covered with a patch. But when going below deck they would switch the patch and place it over the right eye and use the left eye to better see in the dark. How brilliant is that??

Except I’m calling it bunk and Mental Floss agrees with me. I thought this convenient explanation sounded just a little too good to be true but I had a hard time finding anyone else on the internet to agree with me except good old Mental Floss. 

A 2015 article by Mark Macini for explores the various Pirate stereotypes including the wearing of an eyepatch. The article mentions that only one famous Arabian ruler and pirate was known for sure to wear one. He wore the patch because he had actually lost an eye in battle.

I have a couple other points to further debunk this. If this was such a good idea why is it just a pirate thing and not something that all sailors would do before ships had artificial lighting? Why wouldn’t an eyepatch have been standard navy issue if it was that helpful for adjusting to different light conditions between decks?

Another point to make is that human eyes work together due to something called “Consensual Response.” If you shine light into one eye both eyes respond by restricting the pupil. So wearing an eyepatch so that the pupil of the covered eye would be ready for darkness and the uncovered eye ready for brightness wouldn’t actually work. 

I found that information in an online neuroscience textbook but you can test it out for yourself. Stand in front of a mirror in a room that’s just light enough for you to be able to see your eyes in the mirror. Using a flashlight that’s not super bright (definitely not a laser pointer) shine it into just one eye and watch as both your pupils contract in response to the light.

In conclusion, a Halloween pirate costume would not be complete without an eyepatch but know that the whole above deck / below deck stuff is just a bunch of bullhockey. Thanks to MentalFloss for helping me debunk this.

One more thing, I just want to point out that shipbuilders used deck prisms to bring light below deck. A deck prism is a large hunk of glass cast into a shape like a diamond or even a long triangular prism shape. It would be recessed into a hole in the upper deck and the light would refract down into the space below. Prisms only worked to bring light to the deck right below the top deck but they are so cool and I hope to own a genuine antique one someday. 

ODDITY DU JOUR: Oldest National Anthem        In a previous episode about odd foods I mentioned that in 2019 my wife Judy and I took a day trip from Edinburgh, Scotland through the Scottish Highlands. That’s where we saw Loch Ness and tasted Haggis. What I didn’t mention before was that there were about twenty people from various nationalities on this bus which was driven by a kilt-wearing fellow named Scott. At some point along the way Scott sang the Scottish national anthem. Then he said, “Now I want to hear each of you sing your national anthem. You start, Tex!” He was referring to me as we had earlier introduced ourselves as being from Texas. Now I love the U.S. national anthem and the history behind Francis Scott Key’s original poem, but let’s face it, our national anthem is hard to sing. I’ve learned long ago that to sing it decently, I have to start out pretty low, or else I’d never be able to hit that “Land of the Free” high note. So I started off pretty low, and my wife and I and a couple other Americans on board did a decent job. Then there was a family from Spain and another from Israel and a larger group from The Netherlands who each sang their song in turn. It was a fun experience as everyone politely clapped for each other.

Then yesterday I saw a little quiz from a website called that asked which country had the oldest national anthem. They gave four choices. Let’s see if you know. A. France  B. Russia C. The Netherlands or D. The United Kingdom  

When I saw this list I guessed God Save the Queen (or King) from the United Kingdom as the oldest. 

The article went on to explain that national anthems are actually a rather new phenomenon mostly going back only to the early 1800s. In fact, France was the first country to declare an official national anthem, however the song they selected, La Marseilles, was relatively new. Other countries followed suit and picked new songs as well including the U.K. One country was different, however, that being The Netherlands! The music of the Dutch anthem, "Wilhelmus," dates back at least as far as 1572, making it the oldest national anthem in the world. It was widely recognized as a national song long before it became the official national anthem. The lyrics tell the story of William of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt to gain independence from the Spanish Empire. 

So while I was on that bus, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was listening to those folks from The Netherlands sing the oldest national anthem in the world. 

By the way, I really love as they pop out new travel trivia questions every day.      

Sir Francis Drake         One of the first notorious pirates to attack east Florida was Sir Francis Drake who became an English celebrity in his day. Unlike many later pirates, he was an accomplished seaman and navigator, and the first captain to sail around the globe who lived to tell the tale (Ferdinand Magellan was killed before he completed his circumnavigation). The Spanish saw Drake, whom they called the Sea Dragon, as the most ruthless pirate that ever lived. In 1586, while returning back to England on the swift gulfstream current, Drake heard rumors of a tiny outpost on the Spanish frontier in La Florida. After spotting a wooden watchtower on today’s Anastasia Island, he attacked the military outpost with a vengeance. He destroyed the wooden fort, confiscated the soldiers’ pay box, burned every standing building, and stole everything he could lay his hands on. By the time he left, St. Augustine was leveled to the ground. Most of the Spanish citizens survived by escaping into the woods and seeking refuge with the local Timucuan Indians.

Robert Searles       Another famous pirate to attack east Florida was Englishmen Robert Searles. His attack on St. Augustine in 1668 caused a lasting and profound change to the city. His crew captured a ship off the coast of Cuba carrying flour to St. Augustine and used it as the ultimate camouflage. As he sailed it into St. Augustine’s harbor, he made the Spanish crew carry on their duties as if nothing was wrong while his men hid below decks ready for action. St. Augustine was always on edge and sent out the harbor pilot just to make sure everything was copacetic. Searles’ crew captured the harbor pilot and forced him to give the all clear signal to the town. Searle and company laid in wait until midnight to make their advance on the city. When midnight fell upon the sleeping town, the pirates came ashore with guns blazing and chaos broke out in the streets.

With little resistance from the Spanish soldiers, pirates pillaged and murdered. They killed over 60 citizens, which represented over a quarter of the city’s population. Anyone who was not of pure Spanish blood was taken captive and sold into slavery. Prominent citizens were held as hostages and were released only when a ransom of food, clothing, and tools was met. Curiously, the pirates did not destroy the city. Witnesses reported the pirates took soundings of the harbor, which meant they intended to return for a second round. It took many months for word to reach back to Spain of the devastating attack. However, the Spanish crown was determined to take action to ensure this would never happen again.

Florida had a significant strategic value to Spain because it protected their trade route from Cuba to Europe. The aftermath of the Searles’ attack resulted in the Spanish finally deciding to dedicate funds to upgrade their defenses and build a massive coquina fort. The Castillo de San Marcos was completed in 1695 and is the oldest masonry fort in North America. Searle’s pirate attack was the last successful taking of the town. Once the fort was completed the city was never defeated again even when facing overwhelming forces.

Henry Jennings        The story of the pirate Henry Jennings is remarkable as he is one of the few pirates that actually acquired treasure, and lots of it. In 1715, the Spanish Crown was desperate for money to fund years of on-going wars. The Spanish king ordered the Spanish treasure fleet to set sail from Cuba in August despite the threat of hurricane season. As the fleet neared Cape Canaveral, a hurricane smashed it against the Florida coast. The ships, carrying jewels, gold, and silver, were torn apart in the shallow waters from Port St. Lucie to Melbourne Beach. The royal treasure now sat in shallow water a mere 100 yards offshore. As the survivors tried to get word back to Cuba, the rumors began to spread throughout the Caribbean of the wrecked treasure fleet.

Henry Jennings, a captain and landowner in Jamaica, heard these rumors. In spring, 1716, he gathered a crew and departed from Port Royal, Jamaica, on his ship, The Bathsheba. Upon arriving in Florida, he found the Spanish attempting to salvage the treasure near present-day Sebastian Inlet. He attacked their encampment and stole over 340,000 Spanish coins known as pieces of eight from the lightly guarded storehouse without killing a single person. He returned a second time and stole more treasure before retiring from pirating.

The early 1700s became known as the Golden Age of Pirates. This is when pirates that we know today, like Blackbeard and Calico Jack, operated. In 1717, the English government finally took decisive action to stop the out-of-control piracy in the Caribbean. The King of England declared a royal proclamation to stop the looting. All pirates who accepted the royal proclamation by signing their names received a royal pardon. The king sent Woodes Rogers, a former pirate himself, to oversee and enforce the proclamation. Henry Jennings signed the royal pardon and retired a wealthy pirate, probably to Bermuda or Charleston, before fading into pirate history. He remains one of the rare pirates that retired on their booty.

Once again, our thanks to James Zacharias for allowing us to quote his article.

JOLLY ROGER   Everyone knows what the pirate flag looked like. It is black with a white skull and crossbones emblazoned on it designed to strike fear into the hearts of those the pirates were planning to attack. The flag is referred to as The Jolly Roger.

The black and white flag I just described is the one that Hollywood made famous and nearly all depictions of pirate flags in modern culture look like that. In reality there were a lot more variations in pirate flags and most pirates had a flag that was specific to their ship. The color red was featured a lot along with the regular black and white. Sometimes a full skeleton was on a flag or just the skull with no cross bones. Some show the skull from the side instead of head on and still some flags had other elements on them such as an hourglass, a sword, or a dagger. Blackbeard’s flag featured a white skeleton raising a toast with one hand and spearing a red heart. One thing all the flags had in common though were the representation of death. 

No one knows for certain how the pirate flag came to be known as the Jolly Roger. I always thought that Jolly came from the morbidly grinning skull and Roger was just a random name that stuck. According to The Straight one theory is that some pirates operating in the West Indies used a flag dipped in red paint or even blood, whichever could be gotten more conveniently. The French supposedly called this the “joli rouge,” which translates into Pretty Red and the name was corrupted over time to Jolly Roger.

Another theory is that the name was taken from “Ali Raja” a term that certain asian pirates were calling themselves. It translates as “king of the seas.” The English pirates naturally thought they were the kings of the sea and so appropriated the name and amended it for their own use.

The speculates that both of those are so plausible as to be implausible (kind of like the eyepatch thing). Rarely does etymology make that much sense. Most likely Jolly came from the grinning skull and ‘Roger’ came from a term given to vagabonds or travelers or even the devil himself as he was commonly referred to as Ol Roger.

Calico Jack Rackham         As his name might suggest, there were few pirates as flamboyant and flashy as Calico Jack Rackham. He was well known for his stylish clothing, his bold and brave fighting style, and poor decision making. His light burned brightly though briefly in the Caribbean during the early 1700s. 

Calico Jack was an Englishman who served on the ship of another pirate named Charles Vane. In 1718 their ship came upon a large French warship just outside of New York harbor. Captain Vane didn’t want to challenge this large vessel, but Calico Jack rallied the crew and attempted to take the ship and its cargo. The attack was unsuccessful, but the crew loved Calico Jack’s fighting spirit and thus voted Vane out and made Calico Jack the new ship’s captain. It is believed that Calico Jack fashioned the Jolly Roger flag with its prominent skull and cross bones.

Unfortunately, Calico Jack’s decision making tended to fall into the category of Impulsive. It was mostly “act first, think later”. While sailing along the eastern coast of the American colonies Jack would see a town and shout, “Let’s go raid it!” These raids yielded very little gain and only managed to anger local merchants into hiring privateers to chase after Jack and his crew. 

Then one day Calico Jack spied an untended large merchant ship called the Kingston. “Let’s go steal it!” yelled Jack. Soon he and his crew had boarded the Kingston and took off with it. But this large ship was much easier for those privateers to track. While Jack and his crew were camped on an island near Cuba, the privateers recaptured the ship. Jack and his crew hid in the interior of the island, alive, but now with no ship. 

After this misadventure, Calico Jack decided to turn over a new leaf. In a small makeshift boat, Jack and some of his crew sailed from Cuba to Nassau in The Bahamas where he presented himself before Governor Woodes Rogers begging for a pardon. Jack claimed that Vane had forced him into piracy. He promised to help the governor rid the Caribbean of pirates, and thus his pardon was granted. But impulsive decision making did not go away, and trouble soon followed, this time in the form of a woman. 

Ann Bonney      In Nassau, Jack fell in love with a woman named Ann Bonney the wife a James Bonney who was one of the governor’s lieutenants. When their affair was discovered Jack attempted to buy off Ann’s husband which only served to infuriate Ann. When the governor issued an order for Ann to be whipped for her adultery, Jack decided to steal a ship and whisk her away. Of course this voided his pardon, so Jack recruited a new crew and once again set off to rob and plunder, now with Ann by his side dressed as a man. 

Mary Read       During one of their attacks, Calico Jack captured the crew of a merchant ship and took on a sailor with an interesting secret of her own. Mary Read had lived and worked dressed as a man from the time she was a teenager. Thus, Calico Jack Rackham became the only known pirate captain with two cross-dressing women on his crew. It might seem like this trick would have been hard to pull off, but apparently Bonny and Read were pretty tough ladies, able to fight and scrap with the best of them.

Like most pirate stories, Calico Jack’s does not end well. Within months of his hasty departure from Nassau he and his crew were captured by the famous pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet. Apparently they were caught off guard while on a drunken bender and were detained with little trouble.

On November 17, 1720, just two years after his exploits began, Jack was hanged for his crimes. No pardon this time. Ann Bonney did have a few last touching words for Jack. “If you had fought like a man, you would not hang like a dog!” 

As for Mary and Ann, they both claimed to be pregnant and thus their hanging was delayed. Mary Read died in prison, but Ann Bonney appears to have escaped, however in is uncertain what eventually happened to her. 

Pirate Skeleton    I found an interesting 2016 article on says that in Edinburgh, Scotland students at Victoria Primary school got quite a surprise.

An expansion of the primary school was in the works and while laborers were digging up the school playground, human skeletal remains were uncovered. A study of the skeleton determined it to be that of a man who died in his fifties. Archaeologists used carbon dating to find that the bones were about 600 years old. That would place the man as living in the 16th or 17th century.

Furthermore, the school’s neighborhood of Newhaven was once a bustling fishing village and port. Because of this and the fact that the man was not buried in a graveyard but by harbor suggests that he was executed.. It’s a good indication that the skeleton under the playground belonged to a pirate. Pirates used to be executed and put on display in ports and harbors as a deterrent to anyone who might be singing the tune, It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me.

The school’s head teacher, Laura Thompson, said: “The pupils think it’s fantastic that a skeleton was found deep underneath their playground. The archaeologists will hold a special lesson with some of the children about how they have used science to analyze the remains, and it will be a good learning opportunity for them.”

A forensic artist created a reconstruction from the skull to determine what the man may have looked like. We’ll have that picture up on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Article by Shaunacy Ferro for and

Captain Kidd

William Kidd was a Scottish privateer operating under commission granted by the English governor of the colony of New York. Assigned to hunt pirates and harass the French, Kidd apparently got bored and turned to piracy when he attacked an Indian treasure ship in 1697.

Kidd saw this as within his charter, but the crown did not agree. You see, India was also a British colony at the time. When Kidd sailed to the Caribbean he found out he was a wanted man. Believing friends in the Colonies could help clear his name, he set sail for New York where was arrested upon arrival, taken to England, and tried as a pirate.

During the trial, Kidd pleaded his innocence. When details of his exploits came out, including his violence towards prisoners and his own crew, and his interaction with known pirate Robert Culliford, Kidd found few sympathizers. He was deemed guilty and hanged on May 23, 1701. End of story – Oh, but wait, there’s more.

Kidd’s tale would be quite mundane if not for one very interesting footnote: Before turning himself over to authorities in New York, Kidd buried treasure on Gardiners Island off the coast of Long Island. Upon arrest, Kidd explained where he had hidden his stash and the items were recovered.  Before his execution, Kidd taunted his captors by letting them know there was still treasure to be had, and only he knew the location. His words went ignored, but some today believe there may be secrets still out there, buried and awaiting discovery.

The Search for Captain Kidd's Treasure

Hubert and Guy Palmer were two brothers who were fascinated by all things involving pirates. They even opened a pirate museum in England and set upon acquiring items that had belonged to notable pirates. In 1929 they purchased a desk and other furnishings that had belonged to Captain Kidd. It turns out that the desk contained a secret compartment. The brothers managed to open it and inside found a cryptic map. The map showed an island with an X which the Palmer Brothers presumed marked the location of Kidd’s treasure. Thus encouraged they began to acquire and then dissemble more pieces of Kidd’s furniture and, sure enough, three more maps were located. One of the maps included a labeling on the water around the island as “China Sea”.

The current whereabouts of those original maps is unknown, only copies remain available today. Numerous explorers have searched for the island but to this point, nobody has recovered Kidd’s lost treasure.

Many people believe that Oak Island, Nova Scotia along Canada’s east coast may be the resting place of Kidd’s treasure. It appears that in 1795 an explorer found a depression in the ground and a tackle block located in a nearby tree. The man recruited some friends and they began digging. As they dug, they discovered a layer of flat stones and then a layer of logs every few feet. They gave up the dig after 30 feet as the walls were beginning to cave in on them. But definitely somebody had buried something there. Over time the location became known as the Money Pit. 

Many expeditions have put a great deal of effort into discovering the secrets of the money pit, only to come up short. Could this be the final resting place of Captain Kidd’s treasure? Some believe so. Various scattered artifacts have been located that appear to be hundreds of years old and not native to the island, but no large treasure has ever been located. 

People are still studying Kidd’s maps, found by the Palmer brothers so many years ago. Alleged sites of Kidd’s island range from near Hong Kong, to the Caribbean, to the Indian Ocean. And excavation is still going on at Oak Island, managed by Oak Island Tours. Yet still no treasure has been found.

But one lost artifact of Kidd’s that has turned up is his treasure ship. In 2007 the remains of the Quedagh Merchant, the ship Kidd had commandeered in the Indian Ocean heavy with treasure, were found off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic. One account says Kidd’s own crew looted and burned the ship while Kidd was imprisoned in New York. Another says the pirate Robert Culliford overwhelmed Kidd and his men, looted and destroyed the ship. No one knows for sure. 

The story of William Kidd is an odd one, filled with mysteries and half truths. Kidd may have been an innocent man, or he may have been the rogue pirate the English government made him out to be. Either way, he took his secrets to the grave with him on the day he was hanged, over 300 years ago.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day 

To close out our discussion I have to tell you that coming up soon on September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. In reality pirates didn’t speak any differently than the other sailors of the time. They spoke the language, dialect and colloquialisms of wherever they came from. But don’t let that stop you from having fun!

From Mental we have some Talk Like a Pirate Day fast facts….Two friends, John Baur otherwise known as “Ol’ Chumbucket”and Mark Summer AKA “Cap’n Slappy,” came up with the idea of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, a day of swashbuckling fun!  The annual phenomenon has taken the world by storm, having been observed by every continent, the International Space Station, and even the Oval Office since it first made headlines back in 2002.

Like I said, what we consider to be pirate lingo and talk is not actually how pirates communicated. So where did the modern “pirate dialect” come from? Summers and Baur credit actor Robert Newton's performance in the 1950 movie Treasure Island and have accordingly canonized him the “patron saint” of their holiday. 

The Washington Post gives us some ideas of how to celebrate September 19th, the scurviest day of the year.

However you plan to celebrate, we wish you a scurvy, flea-bitten, but happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!


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