Fun Pirates Facts for Kids
Just what is a Pirate?
A pirate is a person who robs or plunders at sea, the pirate crews were treated much better than the navy crews who were subjected to harsh rules, treatment, punishment and low wages. Although the Golden Age of Piracy lasted just under 100 years from the the 1650s to the 1730s, there are still real life pirates sailing the ocean today. They are most common in the Caribbean, although reports have been made of piracy from around the world.
All those years ago, if the pirate crew felt the captain was not succeeding (getting the men enough plunder), they would vote him out and elect a new captain from amongst themselves. There were safe havens for pirates all over the world: Port Royal in Jamaica was a famous example of a place where pirates could gather without fear of attack or arrest.
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Dead Man's Chest is a tiny island that forms part of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Pirate legends claim that the notorious pirate, Blackbeard, marooned 15 of his pirate crew on 'Dead Man's Chest' as a punishment for their mutiny and desertion! The song was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in his famous pirate novel Treasure Island.
Keep to the Code!
Keep to the Code!
The pirate ships were governed by their own laws, called Articles, which were agreed between the pirate crew and the captain - these articles also agreed how the prize money from their raids would be shared out. The following Code of Conduct was agreed by Bartholomew Roberts and his Pirate Crew:
I - Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a shortage may make it necessary for the common good; then a cutback may be voted.
II - Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board for prizes. But if they cheat the company by even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man robs another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.
III - None shall gamble for money either with dice or cards.
IV - The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.
V - Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
VI - No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found carrying a woman to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.
VII - He that shall leave the ship in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
VIII - None shall hit another on board the ship, but every man's argument shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command, each man who’ll be placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately
IX - No man shall talk of leaving their way of living till each has a share of l.000. Any man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight.
X - The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.
XI - The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day (Sunday) only by right.
What to Wear?
Pirates didn’t just wear only one style of clothes - like fashion today it started from something simple and grew. There was a fashion called ‘slops’: this consisted of a canvas doublet (snug-fitting buttoned jacket) and breeches (above the knee trousers), knitted caps, cotton waistcoats and drawers, stockings, linen shirts and shoes.
The choice of clothing didn’t just depend on the fashion, fabrics and colours depended on how wealthy they were: crimson, violet, purple and deep blue were the most popular. It also depended on what clothing had been stolen, the clothes of pirate seamen were nearly always mismatched with multi-colours, and this is how they got the nickname 'Motley Crew'.
The captain's clothing was different. Bartholomew Roberts was described as a flamboyant dresser. His waistcoat and breeches were made of velvet in a rich crimson colour. His hat was decorated with an exotic red feather. An expensive satin and leather sash diagonally decorated the front of his coat and a sash was tied around his waist. His clothes were adorned with gold jewellery and ornaments.
This is an original news article © The Kids Window