Plot Twist: The Most Famous Fictional Pirate Was Real

With a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder, Long John Silver set the standard for literary pirates. Source: (

When Robert Louis Stevenson published his swashbuckling novel, Treasure Island, in 1883, his descriptions of Long John Silver set the bar for all literary and film pirates to come. It was Stevenson’s character that gave us such pirate tropes as a shoulder parrot, wooden peg leg, and a chest of buried treasure. Nearly every pirate novels, movies, and TV shows since then have included some elements of the fictional Long John Silver. But recent research seems to show that Stevenson modeled his treacherous rogue after real-life pirates…two Welsh brothers. Let’s compare these brothers with the Treasure Island character, Long John Silver.