7 Fiercest Female Pirates of All Time
For the most part, the stubbornest pirates that ever wrecked the seas of the world were largely of the male gender. But in our evolving world of feminism, it’s not uncommon to come across historic names of notorious female pirates. It’s popularly believed that “what men can do, women can even do it better”. It seems there is nothing really surprising about female criminals at sea.
Female piracy is not a modern-day social problem. The fact is that women already made their bad names in the piracy business since the mid and late teen centuries (usually termed as the Golden Age of Pirates). Here is a list of the most notorious female pirates of all time.
Anne Bonny’s name has traveled around the universe as one of the dangerous female pirates that ever lived. Born in the 18th century in Ireland, Bonny grew to admire violence and the piracy profession.
Migrating to the Americas with her family, they found their fortunes in sea trade and commerce dealings. Upon Bonny’s father’s discovery of her daughter’s waywardness, she was disowned and cut away from the family. The stubborn daughter (and upcoming pirate) had shown her gangster life when she stabbed a poor girl and eloped to marry a notorious pirate by name, James Bonny.
Their marriage wasn’t full of roses; rocky times saw the criminal couple split. To live her dream life, Anny quickly hooked up to another sea criminal called Calico Jack Rackham. After marrying Rackham, the couple used their piracy experience to trouble ships around Jamaican (Caribbean) seas.
When luck eluded them, they were caught; death sentence was slapped on Rackham while Anny Bonny’s pregnancy saved her from immediate death. It has been rumored that her dad paid some money to free her.
Lady Elizabeth Killigrew
Following the footsteps of many pirates, Lady Elizabeth’s story wasn’t so much different. This came despite her very noble backgrounds. She existed in the 16th century in Cornwall, England. After marrying Sir John Killigrew of Arwenack, Elizabeth couldn’t have had a better career than joining her husband to loot ships that came close to their territories.
Their piracy group possessed a fleet of ships (privateers) that the crew used to hunt for their prey. When Elizabeth’s husband breathed his last, the widowed woman wasn’t scared the least. She rather took lead in commanding her pirate crew to carry out sea raids. When a Spanish ship found herself in Falmouth Harbor, Lady Elizabeth and her crew attacked the ship.
Instead of letting this female criminal to face the wrath of the law when her cup was full, we still don’t know why Queen Elizabeth I decided to pardon her.
She was born in 1865. The female pirate also went by the misnomer Mark Read. Mary Read takes the same level of notoriety as the infamous female pirate Anne Bonny. During her childhood, she masked her feminine identity by dressing as a little boy in order to work on ships.
After marrying a Flemish military man, Mary took over her husband’s belongings after his premature death. Setting out for the West Indies, her ship suffered a piracy attack. Read decided to join the sea looters and partnered with Anne Bonny and her vicious partner Calico Jack.
As they carried out their attacks, they were later arrested. Mary Read was reported dead in prison in April 1721.
Sadie the Goat
Also known as Sadie Farrell, Saddie the Goat was a 19th century pirate from the United States. If you are wondering how she came by that funny nickname, you have to look back at her malicious mode of operation. In New York City, the streets knew Sadie as a wicked robber who used to inflict pain on her victims by using headbutts.
After fleeing from Manhattan with a bitten ear, Sadie and her team ransacked ships around the Hudson River and the Harlem River. She then engaged in kidnappings for ransom and occasionally robbed big houses and farms. When her attacks became risky in the summertime, she went back home and befriended Gallus Mag (the female crook who bit off her ear).
Queen Teuta of Illyria
In 231 BC, when her spouse Agron was no more, Queen Teuta of Illyria was made queen regent, because the rightful heir to the throne (Pinnes) hadn’t attained the ruling age.
During her 4-year rule over the Ardiaei people (in present-day Western Balkans), the queen legalized piracy in order to ensure that her area wasn’t outgrown by its nearest neighbors.
Blinding her eyes to righteousness, she developed an army of pirates and plundered ships from Rome; she also captured Dyrrachium & Phoenice. Teuta’s pirates scattered themselves from the Adriatic Sea and moved into the Ionian Sea. There, they terrorized goods ferried along Greece and Italy routes. Even though her kingdom profited from piracy, she lost her powers when the Romans mounted pressure on her.
Also popularly known as Cheng I Sao, Ching Shih was a Chinese female pirate who carried out notorious activities around the China Sea. In the 19th century, during the era of the Qing Dynasty, Ching Shih was a thorn in the flesh of ships.
According to information gathered from history, this female crook was once a commander of 300 ships in China. More shockingly, her piracy group had about 20k-40k members. Ching’s army of pirates compromised several groups of people namely; grown-up men, women, and children. Ching wielded so much power such that she even warred with nations such as Portugal & England. Born in 1775, death took her away in 1844 or so.
Grace O’ Malley
Coming in last on the list of fiercest female pirates is Grace O’ Malley. She was a troublemaker whose birth to a powerful family in Western Ireland presented pain and losses to vessels at sea. She was reported to have led an attack on the British monarchy using a fleet of twenty ships. Coming to power in the 1560s, Grace toed by the lines of her family’s piracy tradition of looting Spanish and English ships.
There were times when her operations flopped and led to her capture and detention British authorities. Nonetheless, she would beg for forgiveness and later continued her thievery until death separated her from crime in 1603.