In 1900, when submarines were being introduced to navies, Admiral Arthur Wilson called them underhanded, threatening to hang enemy sub crews as pirates. So, in 1914, when Max Horton commanded Britain’s first sub engagement against the Germans, he ordered his crew to fly a Jolly Roger.
The only real world example of sky pirates happened in 1917 when a Norwegian ship was captured by a German raiding party who boarded and seized the ship from a Zeppelin.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a “pirate certificate” to students who complete the archery, sailing, fencing, and pistol or rifle shooting courses. The department frequently holds “pirate induction” days and has had a steady stream of students awarded the achievement.
In the late 17th century, the pirate Henry Avery became the richest pirate in the world after raiding a treasure laden ship belonging to the Grand Ruler of India. He stole £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to £89.6M today. The world’s first worldwide manhunt was called on him. Although a number of his crew were subsequently arrested, Every himself eluded capture, vanishing from all records in 1696; his whereabouts and activities after this period are unknown. Unconfirmed accounts state he may have changed his name and retired, quietly living out the rest of his life in either Britain or an unidentified tropical island, while alternative accounts consider Every may have squandered his riches. Henry Avery is considered to have died anywhere between 1699 and 1714; his treasure has never been recovered.
In 2013, Britney Spears’ music was used by British Naval Officers to ward off Somali Pirates in the east coast of Africa. According to one officer: “As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can.”
There is a Pirate Stock Exchange in Somalia, where any one can invest with money or weapons, and bet on the results of hijacking.
The “Pirate speak” from movies and books was an actual distinct dialect of English which was spoken until the 19th century in the west country. It became associated with pirates due to the strong seafaring tradition from the area.
Notorious English pirate captain Benjamin Hornigold (1680–1719) once attacked a ship off the coast of Honduras just to replace his crew’s hats (they had drunkenly lost them the night before).
Pirates rarely plundered gold, silver, and jewels. Their most common plunder was trade goods such as bolts of cloth, tanned animal skins, spices, sugar, dyes, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, and wood. That’s because most ships didn’t sail around with gold, silver, and jewels. Those things were on land, and paid for the bolts of cloth, tanned animal skins, spices, sugar, dyes, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, and wood that the sailors brought them. The military ships that occasionally did haul treasure were heavily guarded.
When pirate Jean Lafitte saw the governor advertising a $500 reward for his capture, Lafitte offered $5,000 for the capture of the governor.