Humanities › History & Culture Real-Life Pirates of the Caribbean The Men and Women Who Terrorized the Seas Share Flipboard Email Print The capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718. Painting by J. L. G. Ferris. Bettmann Archive / Getty Images History & Culture Latin American History Caribbean History History Before Columbus Colonialism and Imperialism Central American History South American History Mexican History American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Christopher Minster Professor of History and Literature Ph.D., Spanish, Ohio State University M.A., Spanish, University of Montana B.A., Spanish, Penn State University Christopher Minster, Ph.D., is a professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. He is a former head writer at VIVA Travel Guides. our editorial process Christopher Minster Updated January 25, 2019 We've all seen the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, gone on the ride at Disneyland or dressed like a pirate for Halloween. Therefore, we know all about pirates, right? They were jolly fellows who had pet parrots and went looking for adventure, saying funny things like "Avast ye, scurvy dog!" Not quite. The real pirates of the Caribbean were violent, desperate thieves who thought nothing of murder, torture, and mayhem. Meet some of the men and women behind the infamous legends. 01 of 11 Edward "Blackbeard" Teach Circa 1715, Captain Edward Teach (1680 - 1718), better known as Blackbeard. Hulton Archive / Getty Images Edward "Blackbeard" Teach was by far the most famous pirate of his generation, if not the most successful. He was famous for putting lit fuses into his hair and beard, which gave off smoke and made him look like a demon in battle. He terrorized Atlantic shipping from 1717 to 1718 before he was killed in battle with pirate hunters in November of 1718. 02 of 11 Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts Culture Club / Getty Images "Black Bart" Roberts was the most successful pirate of his generation, capturing and looting hundreds of ships in a three-year career from 1719 to 1722. He was at first a reluctant pirate and had to be forced to join the crew, but he quickly earned the respect of his shipmates and was made captain, famously saying that if he must be a pirate, it was better "being a commander than a common man." 03 of 11 Henry Avery Henry Avery was the inspiration for a whole generation of pirates. He mutinied on board a ship of Englishmen fighting for Spain, went pirate, sailed halfway around the world and then made one of the biggest scores ever: the treasure ship of the Grand Mughal of India. 04 of 11 Captain William Kidd Captain Kidd before the Bar of the House of Commons. Print Collector / Getty Images The infamous Captain Kidd started out as a pirate hunter, not a pirate. He sailed from England in 1696 with orders to attack pirates and the French wherever he could find them. He soon had to give in to pressure from his crew to commit acts of piracy. He returned to clear his name and was instead jailed and eventually hanged — some say because his secret financial backers wished to remain hidden. 05 of 11 Captain Henry Morgan Captain Henry Morgan, 17th century buccaneer, c.1880. Hulton Archive / Getty Images Depending on who you ask, the famous Captain Morgan wasn't a pirate at all. To the English, he was a privateer and a hero, a charismatic captain who had orders to attack the Spanish wherever and whenever he wished. If you ask the Spanish, however, he was most definitely a pirate and corsair. With the help of the famous buccaneers, he launched three raids from 1668 to 1671 along the Spanish main, sacking Spanish ports and ships and making himself wealthy and famous. 06 of 11 John "Calico Jack" Rackham English pirate John Rackham, aka Calico Jack (c.1682 - 1720) is visited by crew member Mary Read whilst in prison in Jamaica. Hulton Archive / Getty Images Jack Rackham was known for his personal flair - the bright clothes he wore gave him the name "Calico Jack" — and the fact that he had not one, but TWO female pirates serving on board his ship: Anne Bonny and Mary Read. He was captured, tried and hanged in 1720. 07 of 11 Anne Bonny Illustration of Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Corbis / Getty Images Anne Bonny was the lover of Captain Jack Rackham, and one of his best pirates. Bonny could fight, cuss and work a ship as well as any of the male pirates under Rackham's command. When Rackham was captured and sentenced to death, she allegedly said to him "If you had fought like a man, you need not have hanged like a dog." 08 of 11 Mary Read Like Anne Bonny, Mary Read served with "Calico Jack" Rackham, and like Bonny, she was tough and deadly. allegedly, she once challenged a veteran pirate to a personal duel and won, just to save a handsome young man she had her eye on. At her trial, she declared that she was pregnant and although this spared her a trip to the noose she died in prison. 09 of 11 Howell Davis Howell Davis was a clever pirate who preferred stealth and trickery to combat. He was also responsible for launching the piracy career of "Black Bart" Roberts. 10 of 11 Charles Vane Portrait of the Pirate Charles Vane c.1680. Leemage / Getty Images Charles Vane was a particularly unrepentant pirate who repeatedly refused royal amnesties (or accepted them and returned to a life of piracy anyway) and had little regard for authority. He once even fired on a Royal Navy frigate sent to re-take Nassau from the pirates. 11 of 11 Pirate Black Sam Bellamy "Black Sam" Bellamy had a short but distinguished pirate career from 1716 to 1717. According to an old legend, he became a pirate when he could not have the woman he loved.