A Brief History
On September 19, 2018, we once again celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate Day by, wait for this…. talking like a pirate! And do not think you can get away with failing to comply if you have nobody to “talk” to. You must also employ “pirate talk” in your written and electronic correspondence in order to meet the demands of NTLAPD. Why is this day important? Because talking like a pirate makes EVERYTHING FUNNIER! Especially jokes. Believe us or not, just try it. Your jokes will become immensely more amusing. Image if the newscasters talked like pirates. All that gloomy stuff about politics, corruption, natural disasters and dictators trying to build nuclear weapons would suddenly become funny, not depressing. (Maybe a little.)
Pirates, seaborne thieves, have been around about as long as people have floated on water. Not only sea going pirates, but lake and river pirates as well. Today we stretch the definition to include other forms of theft as “piracy,” such as certain electronic shenanigans, air piracy (hijacking), video piracy, cable piracy, pirated software, etc. What other forms of “piracy” have you heard of?
Here at History and Headlines, we have previously touched on the subjects of pirates and piracy several times. Here are some of our articles that dealt with pirates in one way or another: “10 Notorious Pirates (Arrrrgh!),” “Blackbeard Died Fighting like a Boss and Inspired Assassin’s Creed IV and Pirates of the Caribbean!” “10 Famous Women Outlaws,” “Why the United States has a Navy,” “10 Dumb Decisions (Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Idiocy Edition),” “10 Infamous Ships (Evil, Unlucky, Ill-Starred…),” “The Real “Shores of Tripoli” (OOH-RAH!!!),” “10 Ships With Cool Names,” “10 Women Who Went to War,” “Who Were the German Resistance? (Crackdown on Edelweiss Pirates),” “Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman (Pirate) Scorned! (Or her Ghost!).” This wealth of articles that at least in part discuss a pirate, pirates, piracy or a pirate ship is a clue as to the large impact pirates have had on history. And we have not yet even written about modern day pirates off the coast of Africa or around Indonesia (etc).
Some famous people have had run-ins with pirates, including St. Patrick (see “Who Was St. Patrick?”) and Julius Caesar. Needless to say, pirates have been the subject of too many books and movies to cite here, although we will take a moment to recommend the now retired Starz television series Black Sails. That was one cool pirate show! Pirates movies, even before the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, have been so numerous they have their own genre, called “Swashbucklers.” Errol Flynn was the action hero of his day, largely based on his portrayal of a pirate in the 1935 film, Captain Blood. Robert Louis Stevenson’s tour de force Treasure Island is perhaps the most famous pirate book (and numerous movies) and the beloved Peter Pan (book, play, movies) features pirates as main characters. More recently, Tom Hanks starred as Captain Phillips in the 2013 film by that name regarding a real-life modern incident of piracy.
The names Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Sir Francis Drake (privateer or pirate wannabe), Long John Silver, Captain Hook, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, Black Caesar, Black Bart, Calico Jack, Sir Henry Morgan and Jack Sparrow are almost household names. (Do you know which of those are fictional pirates? Hint, only 3 of the ones we named here!)
Many people are obviously fascinated by pirates as evidenced by the vast array of pirate books, plays, movies, operas (Pirates of Penzance, anyone?), songs, television shows and Jolly Roger flags flying on personal boats and displayed as decals on cars and trucks. How often have you seen someone (not just kids!) dressed as a pirate for Halloween? Many amusement parks feature pirate themed rides. Have you been on them? Do you root for the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? We sincerely hope you honor National Talk Like a Pirate Day by talking like a pirate and encouraging people you know to follow suit. All of us will get a chuckle, and WE NEED CHUCKLES!
Question for students (and subscribers): Who is your favorite real-life pirate? Who is your favorite fictional pirate? Have you ever dressed up as a pirate for Halloween? Did you know Julius Caesar and St. Patrick had been captured by pirates? Have you eaten at a Long John Silver’s restaurant? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006.
Woodard, Colin. The Republic of Pirates. Mariner Books, 2008.
Yomtov, Nelson. Modern Pirates (True Bookthe New Criminals). C. Press/F. Watts Trade, 2016.
The featured image in this article depicts the traditional “Jolly Roger” of piracy, the flag of pirate Edward England, Samuel Bellamy, and others as uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by WarX and edited by Manuel Strehl. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
You are free:
- to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
- to remix – to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
- attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
- share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
This licensing tag was added to this file as part of the GFDL licensing update.