When you think of pirates, images of parrots on shoulders, peg legs and walking the plank prevail. The truth, however, is very different...
PIRATE FACT #1
There is no historical evidence of a pirate ever sporting a parrot on the shoulder.
PIRATE FACT #2
Far from being a fashion statement, pirates pierced their ears with gold or silver because they believed it improved their eyesight.
PIRATE FACT #3
Pirates didn’t walk the plank. Punishments included being thrown overboard or keelhauled, where a person was dropped over the side of the ship and pulled across the barnacled bottom of the boat to the other side – injuries were horrific.
PIRATE FACT #4
Despite the impression that pirates were an unruly bunch, each ship had a strict Code of Conduct with clearly defined roles from the captain to the officers on board, and right down to the cabin boy.
PIRATE FACT #5
Actor Robert Newton invented the piratical “Arrrrr!” in his role as Long John Silver in the 1950 film Treasure Island. It was a bad attempt at a West Country accent.
PIRATE FACT #6
Mariners feared the red skull and crossbones far more than the traditional black Jolly Roger. Known as the “Bloody Red”, this flag indicated that the pirate crew would spare no lives if an attack was resisted.
Black Sails: Season 4 is out on May 24.