Four Female Pirates You Wouldn’t Want to Mess With
Jacquotte Delahaye is the subject of many legendary stories. Nicknamed ‘Back from the Dead Red’ after she faked her own death to escape government pursuit, Haitian Jacquotte was a red-headed beauty who operated in the 1600s. She led a gang of hundreds of pirates, and with their help took over a small Caribbean island in the year of 1656, which was called a “freebooter republic.” Jacquotte first took up piracy to earn enough to support her mildly brain damaged brother when both her parents died. With compassion and cunning balanced in equal measure, she was one of the most successful pirates ever to set sail.
Already a known criminal in her native Tortuga, Anne Dieu-Le-Veut was deported to France where she married notorious pirate Pierre Length. He was killed in 1683 by Laurens de Graaf, a fellow pirate, in a bar fight. Anne was understandably enraged and challenged Laurens to a duel, but he was so awe-struck by her gutsy nature, he turned down the match, and instead he proposed marriage. Apparently incredibly fickle, Anne accepted and continued to sail the seas with her felonious hubby in tow.
Anne Bonny and Mary Read
Irish Anne was born between 1667 and 1700. She was disowned by her father for stabbing a servant girl and later marrying pirate James Bonny. They moved to the Bahamas. Here she moved up in the freebooter ranks, leaving her husband for Jack “Calico Jack” Rackham, captain of the Revenge.
Mary, on the other hand, was forced into piracy when her ship, headed for the Caribbean, was captured by pirates. She later ended up on Calico Jack’s ship, though Anne was unaware her fellow female buccaneer, Mary, was disguised as a man. It wasn’t until Anne took a fancy to Mary’s pretty face, and Calico Jack, in jealousy, threatened to make it look a little less pretty that Mary revealed herself.
Both women continued threatening the oceans until their luck ran out, and the Revenge was intercepted by Captain Jonathan Barnet while her crew were in the midst of a party. Too drunk to fight, most of the pirates left the dirty business to the women, and rumor has it they were excellent fighters. All were eventually captured, but the two women evaded immediate execution by claiming they were both with child. Mary died in prison in 1721, but Anne disappears from the record, neither recorded as executed or released, and it seems we can guess at whether she lived to fight another day.