Pirates have been in the news quite a bit over the past year or so, as Somali pirates have frequently attacked cargo ships off the coast of the Horn of Africa. Now they’ve taken 20 Americans hostage. Uncool, Somali pirates, uncool.
It’s really no laughing matter, despite how Hollywood likes to present pirates as either dashing but sensitive (Dread Pirate Roberts), hilariously doomed (Captain James S. Hook), or Keith Richards (Jack Sparrow). We wouldn’t like it one bit if pirates pulled up to our building in old Ford F-150s, attached tow cables, and dragged us kicking and screaming to a scary remote location such as Fort Wayne, Indiana, where we were then ransomed for large sums of money. Then again, we don’t have many things of a tangibly commodityish, resellable nature. We are purveyors of knowledge and information. Whew. Was starting to panic a bit, there.
Naturally, since pirates really do exist, an individual can officially be a pirate in BioRC. These can be found by using Biographical Facts Search and searching on “pirate” as occupation. Thus far we have not entered anybody under that occupation that is a modern — that is to say, software or media — pirate, such as the notorious scallywags Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström of Sweden’s The Pirate Bay torrent tracking site. Here’s what we’ve got:
- Joseph Baker, Canadian. “A ruthless mutineer, Joseph Baker was duped by the captain of the ship he intended to claim. Returned to the port he departed from, he was hanged in a public execution on May 9, 1800.”
- Anne Bonny, Irish. “One of a scarce number of women known to have participated in the unlawful interception and plundering of trade ships on the high seas, a problem that plagued merchants during the eighteenth century. The headstrong Bonny, an enthusiastic outlaw throughout the Caribbean, sometimes donned men’s clothing, a habit she seemed to have carried over from childhood.”
- Charles Gibbs, American. “Although he lived almost one hundred years after the “golden age” of piracy, Charles Gibbs was a highly successful pirate who plundered tens of thousands of dollars in goods—and murdered with little hesitation.”
- William Kidd, Scottish. “One of the most notorious pirates in history. He sailed the coast of North America, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean, plundering ships. To this day, rumors persist that he left behind a great treasure.”
- Jean Lafitte, French. “In life, Jean Laffite was a romantic figure, a criminal leader with gentlemanly manners, noted for his hospitality, handsome, and ruthless. Legend has heightened this romance, obscuring the fact that he was a shrewd, successful merchant as well as the last of the great freebooters.”
- Sir Henry Morgan, Welsh. “Early life obscure; probably member of British expedition that seized Jamaica (1655); with buccaneers in Caribbean in Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-67); chosen commander of buccaneers (1668); commissioned by governor of Jamaica, captured Puerto Principe (now Camaguey) in Cuba and Portobelo, Panama; took large sum from governor of Panama, ravaged coast of Cuba, sacked Maracaibo and Gibraltar (1669), recaptured Santa Catalina (1670), and took Panama City (1671); after treaty between Spain and England, called to England to answer for conduct (1672); gained favor of king; appointed lieutenant governor of Jamaica and commander in chief (1674).”
- Mary Read, British. “In 1716, after her husband’s death and when trade began to decline at the inn, Mary once again chose to dress as a man and sign on as a soldier. However, there was little chance of promotion in peacetime and she embarked on a dutch ship bound for Jamaica. When the ship was apprehended in the Caribbean by pirates, Mary joined the crew and from then on made her name as one of them. She sailed with Captain Jennings, a famous buccaneer from the pirate city of New Providence.”
- Rollo, Norwegian. “The Viking adventurer Rollo (ca. 860-ca. 932) founded the line of the dukes of Normandy. He established Viking control of the lands at the mouth of the Seine River and thus began what became the most powerful French dukedom.”
- Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, British. “The famous pirate Blackbeard sailed the waters of the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans between 1716 and 1718. According to legend, he was a vicious murderer who tortured his victims and showed little mercy. In 1997 a sunken ship was discovered off the North Carolina coast that is believed to be Blackbeard’s vessel, Queen Anne’s Revenge. The find generated new interest in the pirate. Scholars now believe that the seafaring renegade did not resemble the “brother of the devil” portrayed by legend.”
“Joseph Baker.” Outlaws, Mobsters & Crooks: From the Old West to the Internet. U*X*L, 1998.
“Anne Bonny.” Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Vol. 25. Thomson Gale, 2005.
“Charles Gibbs.” Outlaws, Mobsters & Crooks: From the Old West to the Internet. U*X*L, 1998.
“William Kidd.” Encyclopedia of World Biography Supplement, Vol. 21. Gale Group, 2001.
“Jean Laffite.”Dictionary of American Biography Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936.
“Anne Bonny and Mary Read.” Gay & Lesbian Biography. St. James Press, 1997.
“Rollo.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.
“Edward Teach.” Outlaws, Mobsters & Crooks: From the Old West to the Internet. Vol. 4. U*X*L, 2002.
If you happen to desire an entry in Biography Resource Center on yourself, with the occupation of pirate, please contact us privately and we will discuss potential arrangements. Be ready to swashbuckle.