Shiver me timbers! Pirates have grabbed the attention of millions in pop culture for ages, thanks to movies and books that feature the peg-legged seafarers. But, did Pirates really have peg legs and eyepatches? Did they really say arrgh? Costume SuperCenter is here to find out!
This infographic looked into some of the myths and legends surrounding the history of pirates and how they really were. Sometimes what you see on the screen isn’t always the way it was, and sometimes you’ll be surprised by how close to reality the movies and books really are!
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- Pirates buried their treasure (myth)
Despite its portrayal in popular media, most pirates, historically, did not bury their treasure, and for a few reasons. One, it was not practical and if it was buried, it could not be spent and used. Two, although pirate treasure is often depicted as being gold and silver, pirate booty often consistent of goods stolen from ships and cargoes. These goods included silks, fabrics, tobacco, spices, and slaves. Their treasure did them more good being stolen and sold for money and to run their on-land operations, than it would have being buried.
- Pirates said “Aargh” (myth)
Although pirates are displayed in modern culture to speak in a rather unique tongue and say things like “shiver me timbers” and “oi be a pyrit,” pirates’ accents varied just as much in the Golden Age of Piracy as they do in the world today. Pirates joined crews from all over the world, and a thus every crew would have a wide range of accents. Some pirates did speak in the accent known to them now, but definitely not all.
- Pirates following a strict “code” (true)
There are many documented instances of pirate ships each having their own codes and rules to follow, many of which have survived to the modern day. The most famous of which is the Pirate Code of George Lowther. These codes set out to determine how loot and profits would be split, and what was expected of crew members.
- Pirates were only males (myth)
Although primarily a male occupation, piracy was definitely not limited to the men. There were many female pirates (many of whom may not have ever been identified, as they often disguised themselves as men to join), some who were very famous. Those include Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who served under Calico Jack.
- Walking the Plank (mostly myth)
Another torture tradition made popular by books and movies, walking the plank was actually not identified as a documentable practice of pirates until the 1820s, when a newspaper reported about a pirate crew that tied cannon balls to the feet of the Vhan Fredericka before making them walk the plank. Other than this instance, pirates were much more well known for “more creative” forms of torture.
If you’re ready to test the waters and join up because a pirate’s life is for you, check out the pirate apparel that Costume SuperCenter has to offer! You’ve got to be prepared when you hit the high seas!