Billie Bonnie

Female Pirates

157 posts in this topic

I am interested in finding out some more about female pirates. Obviously there is Mary Read, Anne Bonny and Cheng I Sao. But I have always been under the impression that there were a number of women who sailed as pirates who's stories are not as famous. I am looking for discussion as well as maybe some suggested reading material.

Billie

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:( 'ave a fine discourse, but for readin' material, the next thread down has alla the books ye kin read for a while :lol:

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Artemisia was an awesome pirate! She is the earliest pirate on record and did her thang around 480 BC and she kicked arrrrrse!

Artemisia

Granuaille "Grace" O'Malley was another. She was an Irish Chieftain who led men in battles both on land and sea, and became aquainted with the Queen of England. She's regarded as a heroine in Ireland and a pirate elsewhere. (She is also a great way to get your pirate guild into a St. Patrick's Day parade!!)

Grace O'Malley

Here are some books you might enjoy...

"Women Sailors and Sailor's women" by David Cordingly,

"Women Pirates and the Politics of the Jolly Roger" by Ulrike Klausmann, Marion Mainzerin and Gabriel Kuhn

"She Captains" by Joan Druett

"Bold in her Breeches; Women Pirates Across the Ages" by Jo Stanley (Editor) Diane Murray &Anne Chambers

"Granuaile; The Life and Times of Grace O'Malley" by Anne Chambers

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And then there's Tomyris, Queen of the Massagetae, who ruled not only over the Volga River, but parts of the Caspian Sea. In 529 B.C., she promised Cyrus the Great 'enough blood to sate your gluttony, which she fulfilled when her Massagetae warriors slaughtered roughtly 200,000 Persians--including Cyrus himself.

When Cyrus lay dead, Tomyris set up a skin filled with human blood and, tossing Cyrus' head into the macabre broth, aid, "I have fulfilled my promis. You have your fill of blood." (Pizan, Herodotus)

For another interesting read, I would definitly suggest the later half of the anthology, "Bandits at Sea, A Pirates Reader", edited by C. R. Pennell.

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Another book to try is:

Seafaring Women, by Linda Grant de Pauw, [Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1982]. Very interesting book. Covers sea-faring women who were pirates, warriors, whalers and traders.

"Lieutenant Nun" by Catalina de Erauso is the memoire a woman who escaped from a nunnery in Spain to go to the New World disguised as a soldier. Some of her exploits are piratical. Said to be true. Very interesting story.

Not about pirates, but Joan Druett's "Hen Frigates" is about women at sea. Might be of interest to some of you.

Good reading to ya,

--Jamaica Rose

He who laughs last thinks slowest.

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Can't forget Sadie "the Goat". She was quite a character...

Coastie04 :(

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:rolleyes: I have been curious as to how many women pyrates there actually were, but every book I could find in my local library, and the websites I looked at focused only on Anne Bonny, Mary Reade, and one or two others.

But how common were female pyrates? Are so few documented because there *were* few... or just because the majority of them didn't get caught?

If anyone knows sommat, I would love your learnin'!

--Mab

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from my read'n most of the female pirates were located in the Orient. There was one female pirate...her name escapes me at the moment....on the next post should have it for yer.....actually had 100 pirate ships under her command. 15th century I believe and yes she was greatly feared.

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There were quite a few, I'd presume. I've heard stories of a husband and wife pirate couple from New York (if'n I be remembering correctly). They had a semi-prosperous career without getting caught. This might be why they were not confirmed as pirates, but the locals all knew otherwise. There's also The Goat. I forgot her actual name, it was I think Maggie something or another, but she was known as The Goat. She led essentially a street gang that moved on to bigger and better things on the water. One source ye might want to look up is a book I've read called Booty (double meaning, I'm sure). It has quite a few stories of women pirates, though I'm not really sure how accurate all of them are. Hope this helps.

Coastie B)

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:lol: I have been curious as to how many women pyrates there actually were, but every book I could find in my local library, and the websites I looked at focused only on Anne Bonny, Mary Reade, and one or two others.

But how common were female pyrates? Are so few documented because there *were* few... or just because the majority of them didn't get caught?

If anyone knows sommat, I would love your learnin'!

--Mab

Hi Mab...just a side note that really doesn't pertain but has a bit o' relevance...at the Battle of Salamis (a naval battle between the Ancient Greeks (I believe the majority of the Greek fleet was Athenian) and the Ancient Persians), the Persians employed one or two ships that were made up exclusively of women warriors. They fought pretty hard, and earned the respect of the Greeks if I remember correctly.

Women pyrates is a really interesting topic, and you might want to check out the book "Bold in their Breeches" which deals exclusively with female pyrates.

Sincerely,

Eric :)

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http://www.beaglebay.com/women_pirates.htm

http://www.ferncanyonpress.com/pirates/lib...ary/booty.shtml

who want factual information on female pirates.

Attached above are a couple of links you should find a bit interesting. Both contain factual information on Female Pirates.

Uhh, my previous post on the oriental pirate fleet...had the century wrong, but all other information was correct.

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Sorry 'bout that, mates--I saw just after I posted that there was another subject of this fine nature, and I didn't mean to detract from that post's gallant author! My true apologies!

That bein' said, many thanks for the information and the links! I'll be divin' in, to be sure (an' perhaps a pun was intended there *wink*)! I already find it fascinating that most of the pyrates of the female sort were from the Orient. Deadly curious as to why, I am... mayhap for lifestyle reasons? Easier access to ships? Women had more power than those of the Western European nature? Hrm!

Raising a glass to women of class (meanin' a firey spirit, o'course),

Mab

B)

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>>Sorry 'bout that, mates--I saw just after I posted that there was another subject of this fine nature, and I didn't mean to detract from that post's gallant author! My true apologies!<<<

No need to apologize! I started the first thread, yer' thread got me postin' to the board again...caught me attention.

I recently got a good book with alot of big words...I know...we are but humble pirates :lol: but I promise, it be worth it....it's Bandits At Sea a pirates reader. It has interestin' chapters such as Women and Piracy in Ireland; Women among the Uskoks of Senj; Black Men Under the Black Flag...and other topics of interest.

There's also Women Sailors and Sailors' Women written by David Cordingly,

Hen Frigates, She Was a Sister Sailor, and She Captains all of which cover the exploits of women at sea...beyond those of a piratical nature.

I am familiar with some folks who like to fish, sail and who just so happen to be women....they put out a small magazine on the subject. If you like I can pass on their information...very interestin' current readin' on "sister sailors".

-Billie-

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I recently got a good book with alot of big words...I know...we are but humble pirates :lol: but I promise, it be worth it....it's Bandits At Sea a pirates reader. It has interestin' chapters such as Women and Piracy in Ireland; Women among the Uskoks of Senj; Black Men Under the Black Flag...and other topics of interest.

There's also Women Sailors and Sailors' Women written by David Cordingly,

Hen Frigates, She Was a Sister Sailor, and She Captains all of which cover the exploits of women at sea...beyond those of a piratical nature.

I am familiar with some folks who like to fish, sail and who just so happen to be women....they put out a small magazine on the subject. If you like I can pass on their information...very interestin' current readin' on "sister sailors".

-Billie-

thanks for the information, will be look'n for the book. Now about the other publication, what might that name be?

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thanks for the information, will be look'n for the book. Now about the other publication, what might that name be?

It be called XTRA TUFF ... its a wee little zine' (homemade magazine) put out by an amazing person by the name of Moe...you can get the Zine' here:

http://ratserv.com/microcosm/zines6.html

scroll to the bottom...they be in alphabetical order...its only a dollar from the website...but if you be a fishin' women and ya contact Moe...you can git it for free !

If you be involved in the fishin' profession, and ya e-mail me off the list I can give ya her info.

-Billie-

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From the women piracy books i have read, seems to be a bit of stretching the truth some or at least some authors have a hard time with strict definitions of what piracy is. I really don't care though cause i like to think that piracy was truely an impowering venue for oppressed women in history.

The Chinese female pirate that controlled a flett of 2000 junks and had supposedly 80,000 pirates working for her was Cheng I Sao, and was from the early 1800's I think.

One book about female pirates that is fun with great illustrations is "Booty - Girl Pirates on the High Seas" by Sara Lorimer. Each woman has a little funly illustrated chapter.

The biggy, that i did not see anyone else mention is "Women Pirates and the Politics of ther Jolly Roger" by Klausmann, Meinzerin & Kuhn. It tends to be sort of one of those books that may stetch the definition a bit (!) and the authors take some liberties but it has a lot of information and I felt like it was worth the read. If anyone else has read it, I really liked the final essay on "life Under the death's Head: Anarchy & Piracy". Anyone have an opionin on that essay? (maybe worth a new thread)

Hey! We need a female pirate smily!

Sadie

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From the women piracy books i have read, seems to be a bit of stretching the truth some or at least some authors have a hard time with strict definitions of what piracy is.  I really don't care though cause i like to think that piracy was truely an impowering venue for oppressed women in history. 

The biggy, that i did not see anyone else mention is "Women Pirates and the Politics of ther Jolly Roger" by Klausmann, Meinzerin & Kuhn.  It tends to be sort of one of those books that may stetch the definition a bit (!) and the authors take some liberties but it has a lot of information and I felt like it was worth the read.  If anyone else has read it, I really liked the final essay on "life Under the death's Head: Anarchy & Piracy".  Anyone have an opionin on that essay?  (maybe worth a new thread)

Hey! We need a female pirate smily!

Sadie

Well, most books on Piracy stretch the truth...there are very few first hand written accounts of Piracy. Much of it was written down after the fact, and most of the stories we think of as "history" are really just myths and legends. But ALL history is like that, what may seem true to one person (or group of people) could be considered legend and mythology by another.

There were women who went to sea in the British Royal Navy disguised as men (and boys)...because of this we can assume that there probably were more women pirates than just Ann Bonny and Mary Reade...they probably just didn't get caught :huh:

We can also assume that there were not hundreds of women dressed as men running around on ships. That era of history was very oppressive towards women, and if we focus too much on the amazing exploits of a dozen or so empowered women we may end up overlooking the reality of sexism during that time period.

I NEED to get the book Women Pirates and the Politics of the Jolly Roger ! I believe it was written by two anarchist feminists involved in the german autonomist movement. I actually got interested in Pirates through anarchism...the first book on pirates I bought I got at an anarchist bookstore

:huh:

What do people who read the book think of it ?

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I NEED to get the book Women Pirates and the Politics of the Jolly Roger ! I believe it was written by two anarchist feminists involved in the german autonomist movement. I actually got interested in Pirates through anarchism...the first book on pirates I bought I got at an anarchist bookstore

:ph34r:

What do people who read the book think  of it ?

Well, i think a whole discussion could revolve around that book for sure. I read the reviews on amazon before i got it, one review, written by a man bashed it for it's inaccuracies, and he pissed me off so much I ordered it on the spot. It ain't a great book, the writting is.. well... sometimes a bit too academic and others too contrived. I do believe the subject could of been handles better by another writer, but i still say it's worth the read.

I too gobbled up books about anarchism earlier in my life, esspecially women anarchists. I guess it's no wonder i fell into a pirate passion.

I realize that it is a hard perspective to comprehend, the plight of women during the Golden Age of Piracy, from the modern women's perspective and that so much is romaniticized, but hell, that whole era of history is a bit hard to put your head around now-a-days, eh?

Anyhow, if you get that book and read it, please repost and let me know what you think - or anyone else out there, and like I said specifically the final essay on Anarchism.

Sadie :ph34r:

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And one more thing, ain't it funny how in many of the historical depictions of women masquarding as men to become pirates, eventually the woman dramatically bares her chect to some blokes she fallen for to announce her identity. It's so funny to imagine!

Sorry to be ramblin so... Sadie :ph34r:

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My favorite female pirate is Mr. Prostitute from Yellowbeard.

:ph34r:

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Interesting topic!

We have plenty of women here in Brisbane who want to re-enact pirates.. and all of us are waving documentation in the air to justify what we want to do.

It seems as though Anne & Mary are our stand-outs, but it seems as though there were a fair few others as well! I think they were a pretty tough bunch though, no shrinking violet types!

:-)

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There was also Alwilda in the 5th Century and Grace O'Malley (1530-1603).

Alwilda took to the seas to escape an arrainged marriage and ended up marrying the bloke after he was sent out to "bring in the pirates" and found Alwilda, the pirate captain.

Grace O'Malley, famous for her many fights with the local chieftains, merchant ships, etc. She would eventually meet Queen Elizabeth I in 1593 at Greenwich Palace.

Other women of the sea (pirates and sailors): Mary Anne Talbot (late 18th C), Hannah Snell (mid 18th C), Mary Anne Arnold and Marianne Rebecca Johnson (From the book "Under the Black Flag" by David Cordingly)

Captain Emerald

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Anne Bonny is my hero, but I love the story of Rachel Wall:

"Rachel Wall has the dubious honor, according to the New England Pirate Museum, of being New England's only woman pirate. Wall played the damsel in distress, luring innocent ships toward her husband's rig by waving and calling for help. George Wall and his crew would then board the rescuing ship, take its crew and cargo, and sink the vessel. Rachel Wall was hanged on Boston Common."

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