Why did pirates wear earrings?

From Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow, pirates and sailors of old are often depicted wearing earrings. But the gold hoops weren't just swashbuckling fashion statements they served several useful purposes.

Seamen proudly sported earrings as a mark of their travels and voyages. Earrings were given to young sailors to commemorate their first crossing of the equator, or when they rounded the treacherous waters of Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America.

Earrings were also worn for superstitious reasons. Some pirates were convinced that wearing an earring would improve or even cure bad eyesight, as they believed that the precious metals in an earring possessed magical healing powers. Another tale was that pierced ears would prevent seasickness. Others believed that a gold earring served as a protective talisman and that a man wearing an earring wouldn't drown.

This, of course, often proved to be false. But earrings made of silver or gold were worth enough to pay for a sailor's funeral if his body washed ashore. Some seamen even engraved the name of their home port on the inside of the earring so that their bodies could be sent to their families for a proper burial. If a man died on a ship, the earrings helped to cover the cost of transporting his body home so that he wouldn't be buried at sea or on foreign soil.

But wearing hoop earrings did serve one truly beneficial purpose for living sailors. "Pirates, especially those who fired the ships' cannons during close combat with the enemy, dangled wads of wax from their earrings to use as earplugs," Doug Lennox writes in "Now You Know Big Book of Answers."

Wearing earrings didn't protect pirates from drowning, seasickness or bad eyesight, but at least it helped protect them against hearing loss .

Credit : Live Science 

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Queen Anne's Revenge was the flagship of which pirate?

The Queen Anne's Revenge was an infamous pirate vessel, formerly named Concord and La Concorde de Nantes. Imposing, terrifyingly beautiful, a brutal beast of the sea, this legendary ship of the seven seas struck dread into the heart of pirates on the high seas. Cutting a quick path over open water, the Revenge boasted strong defenses and lethal armaments. The Queen Anne's Revenge reportedly sailed full of wealth and treasure plundered from many ill-fated victims.

Bristling with cannons and spiked with human bones, the Queen Anne's Revenge was the flagship of the notorious pirate Blackbeard. Under his command, this fearsome vessel was manned by the undead, whether it was a soulless crew of jumbees or zombies, await with deadly determination to repel all boarders. The Revenge also came to life as long as its captain wielded the Sword of Triton, then the vessel would do his indomitable will and spread terror in its bloody wake. According to legend, the Queen Anne's Revenge was festooned with the skeletons of Blackbeard's victims, and spat Greek fire from its bow to incinerate enemy ships, or the occasional crew member fallen out of favor.

During the quest for the Fountain of Youth, Blackbeard held no ordinary ship's crew, but a crew consisting of a mixture of humans and zombies, led by his daughter Angelica. Several days after being shanghaied aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, Jack Sparrow used his lowly position as mere crewman to lead a mutiny against the zombie officers. However, the revolt was foiled when Blackbeard himself appeared and used the Sword of Triton to spring the sinister ship to life, in which Jack's crew of mutineers got caught in its rigging. Throughout the quest, Jack and Angelica danced on deck, the Revenge partook in the mermaid hunt at Whitecap Bay, and was docked in a cove of a mysterious island for the remained of the journey to the Fountain. After the death of Blackbeard, the Queen Anne's Revenge and its crew would be led by Hector Barbossa.

A year later, the ship served as the flagship for Barbossa's fleet, eventually becoming one of the most deadliest vessels to sail the seas. During Armando Salazar's attack on pirates, Barbossa met with Salazar and promised to locate Jack Sparrow in exchange for his life. Salazar accepted but forced Barbossa to abandon his ship and travel with him to exact his revenge. The Queen Anne's Revenge was thus left to the winds and tides of the sea.

Credit : Fandom 

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Who was Jack Sparrow based on?

John Ward was outlandish and fearless, terrorising the Mediterranean with a complete absence of morals – little wonder the English pirate was an inspiration for Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. 

Jack Sparrow was a legendary pirate of the Seven Seas, and the irreverent trickster of the Caribbean. A captain of equally dubious morality and sobriety, a master of self-promotion and self-interest, Jack fought a constant and losing battle with his own best tendencies. Jack's first love was the sea, his second, his beloved ship the Black Pearl.

The son of Captain Edward Teague, Jack Sparrow was born on a pirate ship in a typhoon. Before he was known as "Captain Jack Sparrow", he was simply known as Jack, a teenage stowaway who, even then, had a desire for adventure. Jack first sailed on the Barnacle with a young ragtag crew on a quest to locate and procure the legendary Sword of Cortés. As a young pirate he earned the name Jack Sparrow when he trapped the notorious Spanish pirate hunter Capitán Salazar in the Devil's Triangle. Years after his teenage adventures, an encounter with the infamous rogue pirates forced him to abandon the pirate life and take employment in the East India Trading Company. After five years of faithful service, during which he sailed across all the Seven Seas, he was given command of the Wicked Wench, a ship owned by Cutler Beckett, the EITC Director for West Africa. As Beckett's employee, Jack searched for the mystical island of Kerma and its legendary treasure, until he decided to betray Beckett and keep the island and its inhabitants safe from Beckett and his slave traders. When Beckett contracted him to transport a cargo of slaves to the Bahamas, Jack chose to liberate them and steal the Wench from Beckett. However, Beckett's men managed to find him and branded him as a pirate, while the Wench was set aflame and sunk. After striking a bargain with Davy Jones, the ghostly captain of the Flying Dutchman, to resurrect his beloved vessel, Jack had the Wench renamed the Black Pearl and began the pirate life anew. At some point, Jack Sparrow became one of the nine Pirate Lords, his domain being the Caribbean Sea.

Throughout his years as an infamous pirate of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow embarked on many adventures, several of which involved gaining items of unique value. Jack was captain of the Black Pearl for two years, during which time he searched for the Shadow Gold. But when he was after the treasure of Isla de Muerta, Jack lost the Pearl in a mutiny led by his first mate, Captain Hector Barbossa. Ten years later, with the help of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, Jack retrieved the Black Pearl after having fought and killed the cursed Barbossa, thereby becoming its captain once again. Jack was soon after the Dead Man's Chest, to settle his debt with the fearsome Davy Jones, which ended with him being taken to Davy Jones' Locker by the Kraken. After escaping the Locker with the help of his crew, led by the resurrected Hector Barbossa, Jack had joined with the Brethren Court in the battle against Lord Cutler Beckett, who had control over Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. Jack would later sail on stranger tides during the quest for the Fountain of Youth, contending with the notorious Blackbeard and his daughter, Angelica, who forced him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. After the malicious Captain Salazar's ghost crew escaped from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate, Jack sought to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune by finding the Trident of Poseidon. Jack would be helped on his journey by Henry Turner who sought to free his father and they would be aided by Carina Smyth.

Over the course of time, Captain Jack Sparrow became a center of intrigue as myths and legends have been told of his exploits. Most of these tales, however, were exaggerations, or even fabrications, embellished by Jack himself to bolster his reputation. Despite his dishonesty and many deceptions, Jack Sparrow did embark on a number of grand and thrilling adventures, some involving the supernatural, pirate lore, magic, and journeys in discovering hidden treasures. Indeed, Jack's ultimate ambition was to have the freedom to sail the seas as a legendary pirate for eternity.

Credit : Fandom 

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How did pirates attach peg legs?

Quite a few things could lead to a pirate losing a foot or a leg while aboard ship Even a badly broken leg or crushed foot could lead to amputation. There is no doubt that men missing a leg also served aboard merchant ships. So did pirates have peg legs? The answer would be if they needed one and if they could afford it.

Historically speaking, artificial limbs date back to around 300 B.C., perhaps even earlier. The modern prosthetics however track back to the efforts of the French surgeon Ambroise Pare. During the 1550's, Pare crafted artificial limbs from wood covered with metal. They were heavy, ill-fitting and expensive. Some estimates say that about 1/3 to 1/2 of the French soldiers who lost limbs received these artificial limbs. Most scholars doubt the numbers were actually that high.

It wasn't until the 1700s that artificial limbs carved from light weight wood became the common prosthetic. These also were ill-fitting, sometimes painful to wear. Widespread use of artificial limbs did not really come about until the American Civil War.

Most artificial legs were connected by a leather cup that fitted over a portion of the stump. These would often be lined with sheepskin, or other material to make the cup more comfortable. Because the methods used to amputate a leg were not as advanced as they are today, the stumps were often tender or even painful. An improperly fitting peg leg would only increase the pain. Sometimes no mater how well the leg fit, it would cause great pain.

Some of the material used to make the leg included bone, dense woods such a oak, light woods such as pine or even cork. Metal was also still in use during the Golden Age. Each material had its advantages and disadvantages. Heavy dense woods and metal were heavy and would tire a man out when he wore it. Lighter woods and bone were prone to crack and break more quickly.

Attaching the peg leg usually involved strapping the leg at least to thigh and sometimes around the waist and even around the shoulder in order to prevent the leg from slipping around. It was common for people wearing peg legs to still need the use of a crutches even when using the peg leg.

Credit :  Pirates of the Caribbean 

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What was a "Jolly Roger" in pirate lingo?

Jolly Roger is the traditional English name for the flags flown to identify a pirate ship about to attack, during the early 18th century (the later part of the Golden Age of Piracy).

The flag most commonly identified as the Jolly Roger today—the skull and crossbones symbol on a black flag—was used during the 1710s by a number of pirate captains including Black Sam Bellamy, Edward England, and John Taylor. It went on to become the most commonly used pirate flag during the 1720s, although other designs were also in use.

Use of the term Jolly Roger in reference to pirate flags goes back to at least Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates, published in Britain in 1724.

Johnson specifically cites two pirates as having named their flag "Jolly Roger": Bartholomew Roberts in June 1721 and Francis Spriggs in December 1723. While Spriggs and Roberts used the same name for their flags, their flag designs were very different, suggesting that already "Jolly Roger" was a generic term for black pirate flags rather than a name for any single specific design. Neither Spriggs' nor Roberts' Jolly Roger consisted of a skull and crossbones.

Richard Hawkins, who was captured by pirates in 1724, reported that the pirates had a black flag bearing the figure of a skeleton stabbing a heart with a spear, which they named "Jolly Roger". This description closely resembles the flags of a number of Golden Age pirates.

It is sometimes claimed that the term derives from "Joli Rouge" ("Pretty Red") in reference to a red flag used by French privateers. This is sometimes attributed to red blood, symbolizing violent pirates, ready to kill.

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