Ferocious Female Pirates taking charge!

Anne Bonney, the ferocious female pirate defying society and it's norms in battle
Anne Bonny in the midst of battle!

In history, ferocious female pirates taking charge and defying society, are often deleted… But we’re going to change that! Piracy boasts a hidden history of the role of Female Pirates who were fearless and cunning women that defied convention to become infamous pirates on the high seas. Discover the legacy of these extraordinary women, who dared to challenge gender stereotypes, carved their names into the annals of maritime history. While their stories may be shrouded in legend and myth, their exploits have left an indelible mark on the narrative of piracy. Here, we delve into the lives of some of the most renowned female pirates who sailed the seas with audacity and skill.

Anne Bonny (1697 – unknown)

A woodcut of Anne Bonny on an island with ships behind

A woodcut of Anne Bonny; her legacy preserved

Anne Bonny is perhaps the most famous female pirate who defied society. Born in Ireland and later immigrating to the Caribbean, She was marauding during the Golden Age of Piracy. Anne’s life became legend when she joined the crew of the notorious pirate, Calico Jack. Anne fought alongside her male counterparts, earning respect for her courage and skill with a cutlass. Legends tell of her cross-dressing to blend in with the crew, concealing her true identity until her capture.

A wooden carving of female pirate Mary Read mounted on the wall of a tavern
A wooden carving of female pirate Mary Read mounted on the wall of a tavern

Another pirate alongside Anne Bonny on Calico Jack’s ship was Mary Read. Raised as a boy by her mother, Mary embarked on a life of adventure from a young age. Disguised as a man, she served in the British military and later turned to piracy. After meeting Anne Bonny, the two women formed a formidable duo on the high seas. Mary’s exploits include successfully defending the ship during attacks and engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

Illustration of Ching Shih bettering men in a sword fight even though she is outnumbered
Illustration of Ching Shih bettering men in a sword fight

Ching Shih, also known as Cheng I Sao, was a Chinese pirate queen. After her husbands death, she took command of the Red Flag Fleet, one of the largest pirate fleets in history! She terrorized the South China Sea during the early 19th century. Known for her strategic brilliance, she controlled over 1,500 ships and tens of thousands of pirates. Ching Shih’s power and influence were so great that she negotiated a pardon from the Chinese government. She lived out her life in a peaceful retirement.

A bronze statue of Grace O'Malley, also known as Granuaile, in Ireland

A bronze statue of Grace O’Malley, also known as Granuaile, in Ireland

Grace O’Malley, also known as Granuaile, was an Irish pirate queen who sailed the waters around Ireland during the 16th century. Born into a seafaring family, Grace inherited her father’s ships and continued his legacy. She became a powerful figure, engaging in both piracy and politics. Known for her intellect and leadership, Grace successfully navigated the challenges of her time, even meeting with Queen Elizabeth I to negotiate on behalf of her family and clan. You can discover more about Grace here.

These ferocious female pirates, though often overshadowed by their male counterparts, played pivotal roles in the history of piracy. Their tales of bravery, cunning, and defiance continue to captivate and inspire, proving that the high seas were not solely the domain of men. These remarkable women, who sailed against the tide of societal expectations, remain as enduring symbols of resilience and independence on the open waters of the world’s oceans.

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