"The Real Dread Pirate Roberts" (Inspired by The Pirates of the Caribbean 2)
Last night the History Channel premiered an interesting documentary on The True Caribbean Pirates, and, naturally because Jon is on the island that was once Hispañola (now the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and because we recently saw The Pirates of the Caribbean 2, I wanted to see it and who they showcased in the documentary. Of course, they had the inescapable, infamous and oft-mentioned pirates. You know, Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, Anne Bonny, Calico Jack(?)... And they named a few that were reportedly famous, dangeous and highly feared--but I'd never heard of them. Like Black Bart Roberts, for instance, whom I like to refer to as..."The Real Dread Pirate Roberts."
I had no idea he existed, but mmmaann he was ruthless, merciless and the most successful pirate ever in the Golden Age of Piracy. On par or more with Blackbeard, and I'd always thought Blackbeard was the biggest and most frightening scourge of the sea! But it appears Roberts was.
The Real Dread Pirate Roberts was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, May 17, 1682. At the age of 37, while the third mate on board the slave ship, The Princess of London, pirates overcame the ship and forced him into piracy because of his skills as a navigator. Six weeks later, after the death of Captain Howell Davis in battle, the pirates elected him as their new captain, and he accepted. His first act as a pirate captain was to lead his crew back to El Principe to avenge the death of their old captain. Under the cover of darkness, he and his crew landed on the island, attacking and killing the majority of the male population and stealing all items of worth they could carry. Though his career as a pirate was short--only four years long--Roberts, as I said before, was the most successful. He captured a remarkable total of 456 ships, once twenty-two at a time. He raided off the coasts of Africa, Brazil, and Newfoundland; and I think, was said to dress in scarlet red.
He was also atypical for a pirate.
- He was a teetotaler; he preferred tea instead.
- He loathed drunkeness and louts, cruelty and profanity.
- He was always well-dressed.
- He had excellent manners.
- He forbade excessive gambling between his crew.
- He held Sunday worship service onboard ship.
- He was always clean-shaven.
- He treated those he met with the utmost kindness and respect. (Uh...oook? Maybe those not victims of his acts of piracy?)
- He had excellent, beautiful handwriting.
- Being a lover of music, he had on board hired musicians.
- 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 scarcity may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.
- Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes, because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.
- None shall game for money either with dice or cards.
- 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.
- Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
- No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.
- He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
- None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man's quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command from the quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draweth first blood shall be declared the victor.
- No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of 1,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.
- 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.
- The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only by right. On all other days by favour only.
One of Black Bart's two flags.