The briny sea air carried tales of terror, as pirates sought to plunder and pillage ships traversing the high seas. Lurking in the shadows, their imposing ships revealed a black flag–a warning of imminent doom for those brave enough to challenge them.
Between 1700 and 1725, the Golden Age of Piracy reigned supreme, and these swashbucklers roamed across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Courage was little match for their determination, leaving many victims to mourn their losses and bow before the legendary power of infamous pirate ships.
Read on to discover some of these foreboding ships that shook nations and inspired countless legends!
Famous Pirate Ships in History
The pirate ships were a force of fear that plied the oceans. From the grandest galleons to the smallest skiffs, their plundering raids left no boat immune from their touch. They would dive into the depths of the blue water and seek out their next target; small boats, large ones, dinghys, and rafts were all exempt from being stolen.
Let us take a look at some of the most feared pirate ships ever to sail the deep blue:
Queen Anne’s Revenge
The notorious Captain Blackbeard, better known as Edward Teach, struck unspeakable fear into the hearts of all who crossed his path. His presence alone was enough to send chills up a sailor’s spine with his forbidding demeanor and array of weapons. It was said he had horns and could not be killed by mortal man.
In 1717, Queen Anne’s Revenge became his formidable ship when he took it from the French slave ship, mounting an intimidating 40 cannons on board complete with nightmarish flags that declared no mercy if they were to cross paths. The Caribbean Sea was forever changed by this devilish pirate and his infamous ship.
The notorious Black Bart, or Bartholomew Roberts, and his dreaded ship, Royal Fortune, cast an ominous presence on the seas. Armed to the teeth with forty cannons and manned by 157 of the fiercest buccaneers, this marauding ship would hunt its unsuspecting victims.
With unparalleled success during his three years of mischief-making, Roberts was able to subdue more than a hundred ships. What is truly remarkable is that every new ship captured was then refashioned as the legendary ship Royal Fortune.
Black Bart died in 1722 in battle.
Aboard the Gambia Castle, second-mate George Lowther had fallen from favor with his tyrannical captain. But fate soon stepped in when an unexpected incident sent a wave of rage through the British garrison. The soldiers joined forces with Lowther to rise in mutiny against their captain, taking command of the ship that they now rechristened Delivery.
With newfound power, Lowther and his crew set sail on a daring journey of piracy across the high seas. Yet, it wasn’t meant to last. After years of adventure, Lowther sold Delivery for a more robust ship, only to be abandoned by his own crew and marooned on a deserted island with no chance of escape.
Unwilling to face capture at the hands of the British navy, Lowther took his own life–plunging to depths even greater than those he had sailed.
Beneath the sapphire waves, Captain William Kidd led the deadly voyage of the Adventure Galley, a colossal ship bristling with 34 mighty guns. Though once a respectable privateer, Kidd’s hunger for adventure had him yearning for the life of a treacherous pirate, and his bloodthirsty crew eagerly followed.
Originally commandeered by Frenchmen, it was Kidd who made this ship truly infamous, renaming it in his own image after conquering it in 1689. The Adventure Galley became a notorious haunt for pirates and buccaneers alike, preying on hapless ships and their crews with brutal efficiency.
Yet the age of piracy could not last forever, and when Kidd finally set sail to New York City to turn himself in, he knew that his days as a free man were numbered. Despite his attempts at redemption, justice would be swift–and fatal. For Captain Kidd, the end was only the beginning of his legend.
The lofty sails of Fancy, once the Charles II, filled with the salty ocean breeze. She sailed under the command of a tyrannical leader, until one fateful day when Henry Avery, an officer on board, convinced her crew to join him in a daring mutiny.
Fancy’s legacy was made when she seized the Ganj-i-Sawai–a treasure ship belonging to the Great Moghul of India–and became renowned among pirates of the Indian Ocean. After returning to the Caribbean with their bounty, some of her crew members were arrested, while Avery himself disappeared into the night.
Some say he died in 1699 while others claim it was 1714; either way, his story continues to enthrall readers across the centuries.
Take a Pirate Boat Ride Yourself
With all the tales of looting and plundering during the 1700s, now you have the chance to bring those stories to life as you traverse from place to place with these real-life pirate ship tours.
Strap on your seafaring boots and prepare for an unforgettable experience aboard a buccaneering ship. From raiding Spanish Galleons off the Caribbean waters, to navigating along the foggy coasts of Scotland, step back in time and live as a pirate–if only for one day.
Take command of your courage and venture out into the unknown; set sail and explore!