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Women Pirates

If you are at all familiar with pirate history, then you are probably aware that some women occasionally pop up. Probably the common of these women are Anne Bonny and Mary Read, two characters that sailed along with Calico Jack Rackman until their sloop was caught in October of 1720.
However, you may not be as familiar with some of the other notorious female pirates.
I did not include fictional women, or those who remain anomyous.
List of Known Female Pirates:

Elissa ("Dido") — c. 470 B.C., Mediterranean

Queen Teuta of Illyria — 232 B.C.E. to 228 B.C.E.

Ch'iao K'uo F Jn — Chinese legend from c. 600 B.C.E.

Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus riatic Sea.

Princess Sela — c. 420 A.D., Norwegian Viking.

Princess Rusla — Norwegian Viking.

Russila and her sister Stikla — Norwegian Viking.

Wigbiorg — 800s A.D., Viking.

Hetha — 800s A.D., Viking.

Wisna — 800s A.D., Viking.

Ladgerda — c. 870 A.D., Viking.

Grace O’Malley, a.k.a. Granuaile, Grainne O'Malley —1500s, Atlantic; She commanded three galleys and 200 men.

Lady Killigrew — 1530-1570, Atlantic.

Mrs. Peter Lambert of Aldeburgh, Suffolk — late 1500s.

Elizabetha Patrickson — 1634.

Jacquotte Delahaye — 1650s-1660s, Caribbean buccaneer.

Anne Dieu-le-veut — 1660s, Caribbean buccaneer.

La Marquise de Frsne — late 1600s, Mediterranean.

Maria Lindsey (she may be fictional) — early 1700s, Canadian East Coast.

Anne Bonny- sailed with Calico Jack from about 1719-1720, she disappeared from Jamaica, where she was to be hanged after her child was born. Aliases include Ann Bonn, and Ann Fulford.

Mary Read- sailed with Calico Jack for a year until 1720. She pled her belly to postone hanging, but died in prison. Alias Mark Read.

Mary Harvey (or Harley), alias Mary Farlee — 1725-1726, Carolina.

Mary Crickett (or Crichett) — 1728.

Rachel Wall — 1780s, New England Coast.

Maria Cobham (may be fictional) — Atlantic.

Sadie the Goat — 1800s, New York State.

Charlotte Badger.

Qi Sao (Seventh Elder Sister-in-law) — South China Sea, commanded a fleet of 20 ships.

Li (wife of Chen Acheng) — early 1800s, South China Sea, was involved in at least 10 robberies at sea with her husband before she was captured and made the slave of a military officer.

Shi Xainggu (better known as Cheng I Sao, Ching Yih Saou, or Zheng Yi Sao) — 1801-1810, South China Sea, commanded either five or six squadrons consisting of 800 large junks, about 1,000 smaller vessels, and between 70,000 and 80,000 men and women.

Cai Quin Ma (Matron Cai Quin) — died 1804, South China Sea.

Catherine Hagerty —1806, Australia and New Zealand.

Margaret Jordan — 1809, Canadian East Coast.

T'ang Ch'en Ch'iao — alias "Golden Grace".

Gertrude Imogene Stubbs — alias "Gunpowder Gertie, the Pirate Queen of the Kootenays", 1898-1903, Kootenay Lake  and river system of British Columbia, Canada.

T'ang Ch'en Ch'iao — alias "Golden Grace".

Lo Hon-cho (Honcho Lo) — took over command on husband’s death in 1921, was a supporter of the Chinese revolution.

Wong — 1922, united her 50 ship fleet with Lo Hon-cho's 64 junks.

Lai Sho Sz'en (Lai Choi San) — 1922-1939, South China Sea, commanded 12

P'en Ch'ih Ch'iko — 1936, commanded 100 pirates.

Ki Ming (this may be another name for P'en Ch'ih Ch'iko).

Huang P'ei-mei — 1937-1950s, leader of 50,000 pirates.

Linda — 1980s, Philippines. 

Women Pirates Bios:


Mary Read (alias Mark Read)
Mary Read did not lead a charmed life. She was born in the late seventeenth century. The beginning of her story goes two ways. Some believe that her mother, who was the wife of a captain, disguised Mary (who was illegitimate) as the son that had been lost while its father was at sea. The other possible story goes that Mary's mother's husband died, and suddenly the widow was alone, with no income and a daughter born of a love affair. She went to her mother-in-law for, dressing Mary as her lost son. The mother-in-law took pity on who she thought was her grandson, and paid Mary's mother a goodly inheiritance and allowance. However, in time that ran out.
Since Mary had been raised the boy anyway, she went out to make a living for herself and mother. She began working for a wealthy woman as a foot boy. But when she began to get bored of her job, she ran away and signed on aboard a man-of-war. However, she did not last long there either, and was able to join the British Army. She prooved to be a willing and brave soldier, being promoted several times and earning the respect of her fellows. And yet, although she had played most of her life as the man, she still found herself in love, with another soldier in her regiment.
Seeming not to be able to bear it any longer, Mary proclaimed her true sex. The couple were married shortly after, leaving the military and opening an inn, The Three Horseshoes.
But when Mary's new husband died, after being married only a few years, Mary fled the inn and rejoined the military, though she didn't stay long. From there, she joined a ship's crew. This was the ship that was captured by Captain Calico Jack Rackman (John Rackman). Mary eventually went on the account, and accepted a pirate's life.
However, also aboard the ship was Anne Bonny, the lover of Calico Jack. When she approached Mary, Mary was forced to reveal her sex. And soon after this confession, she had to reveal herself again to Calico Jack.
Anne and Mary spent much of their time together, enjoying eachother's company. Both were brave and fierce in battle.
Mary was able to fall in love for probably the second time in her life, with another pirate aboard the ship. She even purposefully made a duel with a man, just because the man and her intended were to duel. Knowing that her intended was not as skilled a fighter, Mary staged the duel, and won, killing her oppenent.
Mary's life was still to be short, though. In October of 1720, the pirates' newly captured sloop was taken. Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and only one man stood and fought the oncoming soldiers. The rest of crew hid down below. Even though they fought brutally, the soldiers were too much for them, and the entire crew was arrested.
Calico Jack and his men were sentanced to hang in Jamaica. Anne Bonny and Mary Read's sentances were postponed, as they pled their bellies. Both were with child.
Mary stated when questioned, "As to hanging, it is no great hardship." She died in prison with her unborn babe, but she went without fear, such is a pirate's life.


Anne Bonny
aliases include Ann Bonn, Sarah Bonny
Anne Bonny, although she befriended Mary Read in the last years of her short life, differed much from her friend.
      However, Anne did not lead an easy life either. Her story began in Ireland, born to a servant woman. Anne's father was the master of the estate. Her father brought her and her mother over from Ireland to America, where he owned a good piece of land.
There Anne grew up, to become the woman that she would inevitably become.
       Anne Bonny is believed to have had an outrageous temper. She worked hard in her father’s house, managing many things for him. She supposedly stabbed a serving girl and killed her when the girl had displeased her. It is not a fact-supported story, however. When she was around fourteen, it is known that she injured a man when he tried to rape her. He could not get out of bed for weeks after his encounter with the master’s daughter.
      Anne ran away with a sea-captain, James Bonny, when she was sixteen. Her father was angry at the match, and since they eloped, he disowned his daughter, and made sure that she had no dowry.

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