Fans are itching for more information about Pirates of the Caribbean 6, but so far, all they know is that Disney is proceeding with the film and that it may or may not star Johnny Depp or Margot Robbie. Unfortunately, this is not much to go on, so Pirates fans will have to wait to see what outrageous sword battles and barely-believable escapes they can expect when the film makes it to theaters.
Of course, the fantastical plots and unrealistic characters are part of what keeps fans coming back for the Pirates films, but Disney was sure to include some historical accuracies in their works as well. While the pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are often larger than life, the pirates’ clothes, pets, sailing techniques, and values all come from the Caribbean Sea’s true history. Ranker asked fans to vote on the historical inspirations they found the most surprising, and the result is a litany of interesting pirate facts that have helped to develop everyone’s favorite scallywag story.
10 Parrots Were Common Pirate Pets
Pirates are often depicted with a parrot or a monkey in popular media. Pirates of the Caribbean adopted this as well, with Cotton’s parrot and Jack the monkey joining the others as some of the audiences’ favorite characters. However, pets on pirate ships are not just a stereotype.
According to Pirate Ship Vallarta, pirates were known to keep a few animal companions on board with them. Parrots, monkeys, and even cats and dogs were valuable on ships, as they could be trained to carry out simple tasks for their owners. In addition, they could assist the crew by keeping the rodents under control, as even pirates prefer not to have rats in their food storage.
9 Pirates Wore A Lot Of Jewelry
Jack Sparrow is never seen without jewelry adorning his fingers, neck, and hair, and other pirates in the films are also frequently decked out in shiny niceties. This style choice is a common stereotype, right along with eye patches and tricorner hats.
Atlas Obscura explains that pirates typically found that the safest place to keep their valuables was directly on their bodies. Hiding away buried treasure wasn’t as common as we believe today, and if a pirate wanted to avoid their gold being stolen, it was most convenient to wear it all at once.
8 Pirates Really Did Favor Rum
A large part of Jack Sparrow’s journey was the neverending search for rum and the complaint that it was always gone. However, for real pirates and sailors in general, rum was much more than an indulgent beverage.
Pirate Ship Vallarta revealed that sailors would add rum to their water stores to sterilize it on long sea voyages, ensuring that the crew would be safely hydrated. This was called grog and was an essential part of the sailors’ rations. In addition, pirates would often add lime to add some flavor, and it quickly became a favorite drink as well as a necessary one.
7 Port Royal Was A Real Place
Elizabeth was the daughter of the Governor of Jamaica during its occupation by England. The Governor and his family lived in Port Royal, which was where Jack first met the couple that would cause him so much trouble and where the Black Pearl would arrive in search of the final lost piece of Aztec gold.
Port Royal itself really was the capital city of Jamaica, once upon a time. Atlas Obscura reveals that the city was a favorite port for pirates in the 1600s. The abundance of pirates at this port built it a reputation as a city of wickedness, causing several to believe the port’s destruction in the 1690s to an earthquake to be divine intervention.
6 There Really Was A Pirate Code
In Curse of the Black PearlElizabeth managed to protect herself using knowledge of the Pirate’s Code after being abducted by Barbossa, the sympathetic villain of Pirates of the Caribbean. As it turns out, even pirates have some level of honor, as they often made efforts in the movie to uphold this law.
The rules Elizabeth referenced as being set forth by Captain Bartholemew Roberts were, more or less, historically factual, per Pirates of Lore. They outlined how pirates should interact with each other on the ship and how major decisions should be made. However, individual ships or fleets would often vote on their own code, using Roberts’ version as inspiration.
5 Tortuga Was A Real Pirates’ Haven
In Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack brings Will to Tortuga to assemble a crew. The island was depicted as a pirate’s paradise, where the thieves of the sea could trade, pick up additional sailors, drink, and enjoy various other pleasures. Will was slightly disgusted by the display, but Jack treated it as home.
Tortuga is, in fact, a real island that is currently considered part of Haiti. However, in the days of piracy, Tortuga was settled by both the English and the French and was often used to target Spanish cargo since Spain dominated the surrounding islands. For this reason, pirates were tolerated on Tortuga so long as they left the French and English alone, as they often contributed to the sabotage of Spanish shipments.
4 There Were Several Female Pirates
Pirates of the Caribbean has included a few female pirates in their movies, such as Anamaria, played by Zoe Saldana, and Angelica, played by Penélope Cruz. While pirates in the films were cautious of taking a woman aboard because of superstitions, they were often treated with the same respect as the male pirates, with Elizabeth even crowned King.
According to history.com, female pirates were not unheard of in reality as well. While mainstream society made it difficult for a woman to make a living and survive on her own, pirating was far more inclusive. Two famous women pirates were Anne Bonny and Mary Read, both of whom had to disguise themselves as men to make a living before turning to piracy and living more authentically.
3 Pirates Avoided Fighting
Jack Sparrow proved again and again that he was a talented fighter who excelled at strategy. However, his greatest skill was escaping. One of his most iconic quotes in Pirates of the Caribbean was, “we must fight…to run away,” and he repeatedly demonstrated that this philosophy was his favorite to live by.
While modern-day legends of piracy revolve around brutal battles, experts believe that this is more likely a result of the efforts made by pirates to avoid fighting. Unnecessary battles only put the crew’s lives in danger and risked damaging the cargo the pirates aimed to steal. So, prominent captains like Edward Teach were known to spread rumors about their brutality to inspire sailors to surrender when they saw their colors.
2 The Movies Depicted Real Mariner Battle Maneuvers
Some of the audiences’ favorite scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean are the battles between opposing ships. In one such scene, Elizabeth knew The Interceptor wouldn’t be able to outrun The Black Pearl, so she ordered the pirates to drop anchor, causing the boat to abruptly swing around and face the pursuing ship.
The website Nauticed identified this as an actual sailing maneuver known as “club hauling.” It could be used in a number of ways to quickly change the direction of a ship and help it gain a better angle on an enemy or help a smaller boat escape a larger one.
1 The British Court Was A Real Organization
In At Worlds End, audiences learn of The Brethren Court, an organization of pirates that first came together to bind the goddess Calypso in a human form. They would again convene in the film to decide what to do about the dangerous alliance between Cutler Becket and Davy Jones.
History according to Britannica reveals that there really was a similar organization, known as the Brethren of the Coast. The court was founded sometime in the early 1600s by French, English, and Dutch pirates to organize against the Spanish Empire, which had extensive control over the Caribbean and its islands.
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