Before the twentieth century, women were forbidden to travel by sea, except to be pirates. Nevertheless, female pirates have ruled the seas for thousands of years. Sailors believed that the presence of women on ships could anger the water gods and cause dangerous weather. They also thought that women would confuse male sailors on long voyages. Therefore, women could be found on ships, illegally or in the guise of men. Piracy was considered a punishable offense under arrest and even the death penalty. In fact, many of these women were forced into piracy in order to survive. In an age where women are expected to be obedient, we have listed 10 famous female pirates who have been able to break all traditions and make their name in history.
1. Teuta, Queen of Illyrian
Teuta, BC. After the death of her husband King Agron in 231, she became the ruler of Ardia. The Ardians were the people of modern Albania and they were an Illyrian tribe, a settled group in Bosnia. The Ilyrian pirates were more afraid than the mighty navy of Teuta to roam the seas. Piracy was legal here and was considered a profession. Queen Teuta supported coastal settlements and pirate expeditions on Roman ships. But one day Roman ambassadors told him to stop the attack. Teuta replied, “It was never a royal custom to cut off public access to the sea.” Diplomats were later imprisoned and sentenced to death. In contrast, Rome declared war on Ardia in 229 AD. Teuta surrendered two years later. Rome allows Teuta to continue to rule, but prohibits the passage of any warships under his command.
2. Jean de Clison
Known as the ‘Lion of Brittany’, Jeanne de Clisson was a Breton pirate born in 1300. Initially, Clison was well-matched with the French. Later, King Philip VI of France assassinated the husband of Clison VI, and this changed. Cleison wanted to cross the English Channel to find 3 French ships. He immediately separated the French ships with black hulls and red sails. That day, Clison and his fleet killed everyone they met at sea. Clison kept one person alive on each ship to spread the terrible news and convey his message to the King of France. As you can guess the result, she became one of the most famous female pirates in the world.
3. Sayyida Al-Hura
After the death of her husband in 1515, Sayyida al-Hura became known as the Pirate Queen of Tetuan, an important port city in Morocco. At that time, Catholic forces were advancing on the area of Al Hura. Al-Hura’s pirates dominate the Mediterranean through an alliance with Turkish sailor Barbarossa. Subsequently, al-Hura accepted Ahmed al-Mansur’s marriage proposal in 1541 to protect his land against the colonists. However, he did not give up his last name to get married. Instead, he traveled from Morocco to Tetuan to marry Sultan al-Hura. This is the only recorded instance of a Moroccan king marrying outside his capital.
4. Lady Mary Kiligru
Mary Wolverston, also known as Lady Kiligru, was a formidable Elizabeth pirate. She was also the daughter of Lord Philip Wolverton, a former pirate. She later married Sir Henry Kiligru, another former pirate, whom Queen Elizabeth I made the first Vice-Admiral. As Vice Admiral, Henry’s job was to enforce the laws of the sea. However, he was also part of a group of former pirates known as “special people”. Supporting Henry, Mary made deals with the smugglers and took part in the ship’s expedition. In 1570 they seized a German merchant ship and its crew wanted to sell the ship. A friend of Queen Elizabeth’s proved to be the owner of the ship. As a result, Lady Mary was arrested.
5. Grace O’Malley
Born in 1530, Irish sailor Grace was trained by her father. As a child, Grace shaved her head and hid in her father’s ship after dressing like a boy. After her father died, Grace traveled and even gave birth to her first child on a ship. He was a respected pirate and leader. He successfully defended his land against the invading British forces as well as against other hostile groups. He strengthened important coastal defenses and supported Irish rebels fighting against the British. He finally got everything in his favor by meeting with Queen Elizabeth I in September 1594 to make a treaty. Grace’s group was one of the few that resisted Elizabeth and earned her respect.
6. Jackets in Delahaye
Jackot comes from telling oral stories about what is known about Delahaye. Delahaye is believed to have been born in Saint-Domingue in 1630, the daughter of a French father and a Haitian mother who died in childbirth. A young woman in Delaha is said to have started piracy in a fight for survival. He was said to be quite ruthless and often behaved like a man. Delahaye, 26, and his crew occupy a small Caribbean island called Tortuga, known as the “Pirate Republic”. The story of Jakot begins after he was killed in a gunfight in Tortuga in 1663. There is no source to describe Jackot’s adventure.
7. Mary Reed
Born in 1685, Mary Reed was one of the legendary figures of the golden age of piracy. Mary joined the British Army in the guise of a man. She later married a Flemish soldier who knew her privacy, but died soon after she married him. Mary’s ship was then attacked by pirates en route to the West Indies. Mary proved her mettle to the pirates and they hired her on their crew. He eventually finds and joins the crew of notorious criminal Calico Jack Rodkham and his girlfriend Ann Bonnie. In 1720, Jack Rackham, Anne Bonnie and Mary were captured and executed. Mary and Ann were pregnant at this time and their execution was delayed. Later, Mary fell ill and died in the same prison where she had been.
8. Ann Bonnie
Anne Bonnie was born in Ireland on March 8, 1697, the illegitimate child of lawyer William Carmack and servant Mary Brennan. Anne moved to London with her father at an early age. He then moved to Carolina, a British colony in North America. When Ann was a young woman, she married a sailor named Jack Bonnie. Next, they traveled to Nassau, a Caribbean pirate sanctuary. It was here that Calico met Jack Rackham. Later, Ann escapes with Rockham and disguises herself as a man to join Rockham’s crew.
9. Ching Shih
Ching Shih, originally a Cantonese sex worker, married a powerful pirate named Cheng in 1801. The couple soon formed China’s toughest pirate force. After her husband died in 1807, Ching Shih took power by partnering with her faithful lieutenant and her boyfriend, Chang Pao. In the years that followed, they plundered Southeast Asia, creating an impressive fleet of about 300 Chinese ships and a pirate force of 40,000 men, women and children. Ching Shi fought with major navies, including Portugal and England. But there were very strict rules for his army. E.g. Those who raped women prisoners were beheaded and fugitives were cut off.
10. Rachel Wall
Rachel and her husband, George, a fisherman, settled in Boston in the late 18th century. The growing problem of poverty has forced them to find new sources of income in a short period of time. In 1781 they bought a small boat and teamed up with a few sailors to search for the ship off the coast of New England. When storms hit them, they disguised their boats as if they had been damaged by rough seas. Rachel then stood on the deck and asked for help to cross the ship. They hijacked and killed people on board the ship docked for help. One day, a real storm destroys their boat and kills George. Rachel was later arrested in 1789 and became the last woman to be executed in Massachusetts on October 8.