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5 pirate queens whose lives are more exciting than any novel

For a long time sailors believed that a woman on a ship was no good. Of course, this was due to discipline rather than superstition. Indeed, during a long voyage, sailors have to deal not only with pirates, but also with hunger, fever, scurvy and other difficulties. And of course, for single men, a woman is a coveted prize for which they are ready to fight tooth and nail.

Only on the pages of books are sea voyages shrouded in an air of romance; In reality it is hellish work. But not all young ladies dream of a home and a successful marriage. Contrary to prejudices, some were ready not only to rob ships for fame and money, but also to kill.

We are talking about the fate of the pirate queens who instilled fear and admiration in sailors.


Grace O’Malley

Kevin McNally and Keira Knightley in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”

Irish woman Grace O’Malley made history with her daring. He was a hereditary pirate: his father had taught him the art and use of the sword. He robbed English and Spanish merchant ships in the 1560s. The pirates called him Granual, meaning “bald”. The red-haired monster, of course, specifically cut her hair to educate her father, who told her that piracy was not a woman’s job. She also swore delightfully, sniffed tobacco, and wore men’s clothing. Thanks to his courage, he took the reins of the family business and became the head of a pirate fleet of 20 ships. Moreover, during the campaigns she managed to give birth to three children from different men. Among her lovers were both aristocrats and ordinary sailors. She fought right after birth, which was impressive.

Keira Knightley in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”

In 1574, the British managed to capture the stubborn pirate queen. He was supposed to appear at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Grace refused to submit to him and instead sat in a chair and chewed tobacco. The pirate’s audacity impressed the queen: she even wanted to take him into service, but she refused. As a result, Elizabeth I released him, ordering him not to attack his ships again. Of course, Grace didn’t keep her promise. After serving 18 months in prison, he started robbing again. She was caught again. Grace then requested a meeting with the queen. Elizabeth released him and his son again, demanding that the raids stop. However, he broke his promise a second time and continued his career until his death in 1603.


Anne Bonney

Clara Paget in the series “Black Sails”

Anne Bonny was born in Ireland in 1700 from the extramarital affair of her lawyer father and his servant. When his father’s wife made the affair public, the man lost his clients and his fortune. He decided to try his luck in the USA, where he and his new wife managed to make a fortune from plantations. The girl had a cruel character that even her father could not cope with. Legend has it that he killed the maid with a kitchen knife for disobedience. His father wanted to find him a profitable wife, but the red-haired Anne married a sailor, so he disinherited her. The marriage failed, but Anne quickly found a replacement for her annoying husband and befriended the equally fearless pirate Jack Rackham, who took her on the journey.

Clara Paget and Toby Schmitz in the TV series “Black Sails”

Together they carried out successful raids on merchant ships. In addition, he could take down strong men in hand-to-hand combat and was often better at handling weapons than men. Thus Anne gained authority among the pirates. She did not give up the sword even during pregnancy. She lost her child due to overload. During one of the raids, Anne met the female pirate Mary Reed, with whom she formed an alliance. Meanwhile, the TV series “Black Sails”, about the adventures of Anne Bonny, Jack Rackham and Mary Read (appears in the finale), was shot.


Meryem Oku

Mary Reed was forced to wear men’s clothes since her childhood. To make ends meet, her mother married her off to her newborn son, who died shortly after the death of her sailor husband. The woman hid the death of her child from her relatives and went to a remote village, getting pregnant from a local shop salesman. They regularly sent pocket money to the “grandchild” with whom they lived. At the age of 15, Mary started earning money on her own by finding a job as a servant in a rich woman’s house. Thanks to his physical strength and courage, he became a cavalryman and earned everyone’s respect. The end of the secret came when she fell in love with the cavalier Charles. Then the officers, not suspecting that she was a woman, began to spread rumors about their abusive relationship. Mary decided to reveal the truth and Charles immediately proposed to her.

Kara Roberts in the series “Black Sails”

They bought a house in Holland and opened a tavern, but with the beginning of the war this business stopped bringing money. After her husband’s death, she put on men’s clothing again and began serving first in the infantry, then joined a sailor on a pirate ship bound for the West Indies. Thanks to his strong character and masterful use of weapons, he gained authority as a pirate commander. Under his leadership, many merchant ships were captured, including Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham’s ship. With the latter he not only entered into an alliance, but also a love affair.

Clara Paget and Toby Schmitz in the TV series “Black Sails”

When they were captured, Jack Rackham was executed and he and Anne Bonny took advantage of a legal loophole. At that time, it was forbidden to execute pregnant women. Sadly, 36-year-old Mary Read died without giving birth in prison due to fever in 1720.

Fate turned out to be more favorable to Anne Bonny. Her father paid a large bribe to release her and forced her to marry him. She gave birth to 10 children in the marriage. Thus ended his pirate career.


Saida al Hurra

Penelope Cruz in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

Muslim pirates also have their own queen: Saida al-Hurra. From 1515 to 1542, the entire western part of the Mediterranean was under his control. It was revenge against Christians that pushed the woman to take the path of piracy. Throughout her life, she retained memories of the humiliation she had to endure as a seven-year-old girl as her family fled Andalusia during the Spanish Reconquista. Saida’s father was a noble Muslim and Zora’s mother was a Spanish Catholic.

When the Emirate of Granada was captured, the family settled in coastal Chefchaouen, which served as his father’s military base in Morocco and was nicknamed the Blue Pearl because of the color of the walls of the buildings. When she was 16, Saida married her father’s friend, who was 30 years older than her. Her husband, Ali al-Mandri, was the Berber Sultan of Tetouan, who passed to Saida along with the title of ruler after his death. This city became a haven for Muslim pirates.

Penelope Cruz in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

The girl learned a lot from her father and husband, thanks to which she effectively ruled not only the city, but also the pirates who robbed the Spaniards and Portuguese. While Saida managed to make a deal with the pirate Orus Reis, who plundered the Eastern Mediterranean, he was also plundering the west. At first, many were skeptical of his desire, but Saida dreamed of restoring the land of his lost ancestors, so he seriously took charge of the fleet.

Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

The raid on Gibraltar in 1540 was particularly successful. The following year, the Moroccan Sultan Abul Abbas Ahmad of the Wattasidi dynasty was so fascinated by her power and achievements that he courted her. However, Saida set a condition: he retained the title of Sultan of Tetouan, so the marriage ceremony had to take place there. By the way, this is the only exception in Moroccan history where the sultan married outside his own rule. Turks still have great respect for Saida’s success and will.

In October 1542 Saida al-Hurra was overthrown and stripped of his power and property in Tetouan by his stepson Muhammad al-Hasan al-Mandri. His further fate is unknown. According to some reports, he returned to Chefchaouen, where he had lived for 20 years.


Miss Zheng

Jun Ichikawa in the movie “Legend of Vengeance”

He gained a reputation as the most successful pirate in history. Ermanno Olmi’s film “The Legend of Revenge” (2003), starring Jun Ichikawa, was about his adventures. Zheng’s real name (according to another version his name was Ching) is unknown. Before becoming a pirate queen, she earned money as a prostitute on floating brothels called flower boats, frequented by sailors, merchants, and government officials. Even then the girl was blackmailing valuable information from influential clients. In 1801 she met Zheng Yi, the formidable pirate commander of the Red Fleet, who became first her lover and later her husband. From then on, her name was none other than Zheng Yi sao (literally “Zheng’s wife”). Together they went to Vietnam to terrorize the entire South China Sea.

Son Ye-jin in the movie “Pirates”

The man was so impressed by her that he decided to put her courage and business skills to better use and offered to become not just a member of the team, but a full-fledged business partner. Ms. Zheng introduced new procedures in which strict discipline was observed in the team, and the raids became more organized and successful. His speech could not be interrupted, his words could not be objected to, his orders could not be ignored. They cut off their heads for the sake of arbitrariness. They lost an ear due to leaving the ship without the knowledge of the commander. The commander inspected the loot during the campaigns and then distributed it. The theft and rape of captive women was punishable by death. Pirates could have beautiful concubines and wives, but they had no right to cheat in marriage and had to remain faithful to their spouses.

Son Ye-jin in the movie “Pirates”

Madame Zheng’s authority was so high that after the death of her husband, she led the team (according to the agreement, the fleet belonged to her) and remarried Zhang Baozai. Together they attacked merchant ships off the coast of China. Their daring raids so angered the local authorities that they made secret agreements with the British and Portuguese, forcing negotiations under a sea storm. He had to dissolve the team on April 8, 1810, under very favorable conditions. Men were given high positions in the military. For example, Zhang Bao was given the rank of senior lieutenant (by our standards) and maintained a private fleet of 20 ships. Ms. Zheng, 38, gave birth to a son. Widowed for the second time, she opened a casino in Guangzhou in 1822 and ran it until her death at the age of 69. By the way, Zheng Yi became the prototype of Madam Ching in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Source: People Talk

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