Badass Lady Pirates

By | October 17, 2018

test article image
A woman dressed as a pirate with a parrot on her shoulder at the King Mango Strut, annual satire parade. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

If you thought marauding was a man’s job, think again! In the age of pirates and epic high-seas plundering and pillaging, a few tough, bad-ass women joined the ranks of these naughty nautical criminals to prove that women can do more than swab the deck…they can captain a ship, steal treasures, fight with swords and cutlasses, and in most cases, pay the ultimate price for their crimes. Here are some of history’s most bad-ass lady pirates. 

test article image
This artist rendering of Anne Bonny is far from historically accurate. Bonny most often wore men's clothing and kept her gender a secret.

Anne Bonny

A fiery redhead, Anne Bonny, who was born sometime around 1700, was always known for her temper. According to legend, she was only 13 years old when she stabbed a servant girl with a knife. The beautiful daughter of a Caribbean plantation owner, Anne went behind her father’s back to marry a petty pirate, James Bonny, who was a gold-digger looking to claim his new father-in-law’s land. Anne’s father was furious and disowned her. She settled the score by burning down his plantation house. Anne and her husband went to the Bahamas and there, Anne met John Rackham, also known as Calico Jack. She and Calico Jack became lovers and she divorced her first husband and sailed away with Calico Jack aboard his pirate ship. For most of the time, she disguised herself as a man, worked aboard the ship and fought alongside the other pirates. Anne Bonny’s name was listed with other wanted pirates in a “Wanted” ad in the newspaper. When she was captured and sentenced for piracy, she asked for mercy, claiming to be pregnant. She was jailed, and her execution date was delayed until after she gave birth, but her story fades away at this point. There are no records of her execution or that she gave birth while in prison. Many people speculate that her estranged father arranged for her quiet release.