5 Famous Pirates Everyone Should Know

Just like the black pirates, these pirates were not only notorious for their crimes but also for their incredible abilities. From raiding ships to stealing treasures from under the noses of other wealthy mariners, here are five famous pirates everyone should know.

There are many famous pirates that have been featured in popular culture. These pirates include Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, and Henry Morgan. Read more in detail here: famous pirates names.

Military sailors fighting with swords for ship.

Following up on our last post, which introduced you to the lives and methods of pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy, we’ll now take a look at some of the unique individuals that made this lifestyle so intriguing for future generations. These are a handful of the pirates every guy should know, from the ruthless Black Bart Roberts to the fascinatingly colorful Blackbeard. They aren’t necessarily the “greatest” pirates of all time, but they are the pirates who have contributed to pirate lore and history in some way.

There is very little original source information about pirates, and most of what is available is a blend of fact and fantasy. As a result, there is a lot of speculation about who these individuals were. Because there are so few firsthand tales of piracy, a significant amount of legend has grown up around it. With that in mind, we give a report on some of the sea’s most notorious scoundrels.

Kidd, William

William Billy watching pirates to digging hole on beach illustration.

Years in service: 1696-1701.

Location: Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and North American east coast.

Fate: His corpse was hung and gibbeted above the River Thames in London for almost two decades as a warning to anyone pursuing piracy as a career.

Originator of the concept of “hidden treasure,” according to his claim to fame.

To be honest, Captain Kidd’s achievements were not very noteworthy. As a privateer commissioned by the British government, Kidd took involved in a number of brief battles with pirates and other vessels, but none of them would have a lasting influence on history. Captain Kidd’s tale starts when it ends, which is an intriguing twist. Many of Kidd’s colleagues and superiors felt that he had gone beyond the scope of his letter of marque and dabbled in piracy on occasion during his career. English men-of-war were despatched to carry him back to London when the evidence became overwhelming. Kidd allegedly buried a great fortune off the coast of New York on Gardiners Island as an insurance policy and negotiating tactic, knowing what was to follow. The British court, unimpressed by (possibly false) stories of hidden wealth, sentenced Kidd to death. His narrative came to an end there, with a short plummet and a quick halt, and his mythology started.

Roberts, Bartholomew “Black Bart”

Bartholomew holding a sword illustration.

Years of active service: 1719-1722

Location: Off the coasts of North America and Africa’s east coasts.

In a combat against the English Navy, the ship was damaged by cannon fire.

Claim to fame: He is perhaps the most successful pirate of all time.

Despite the fact that he was not the most well-known pirate, Bartholomew Roberts was by far the finest at what he did. Roberts is said to have captured around 470 ships during the course of his career while operating in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The fact that Roberts was hesitant to become a pirate in the first place adds to his exceptional achievement. He and his crewmates were kidnapped and kept captive by pirates while he was a young man on a commercial ship. Robert’s navigational abilities instantly distinguished him from the other prisoners, and he quickly became a valuable asset to his captors. Surprisingly, as their friendship evolved, he was finally elected captain by the crew. Initially hesitant, Roberts soon came to the famous conclusion that there was just no reason good enough to grind his way through an honest existence, and that his motto would henceforth be “a happy life and a short one,” according to history. The Golden Age of Piracy came to an end when he was murdered by grapeshot at the age of 39.


Edward Teach, often known as “Blackbeard,” was a pirate who lived in the Caribbean.

Edward Teach illustration.

Years of active service: 1716–1718

The Caribbean Sea and the east coast of North America.

Fate: He was killed in a fight with the English Navy.

Claim to fame: Successfully blockedaded Charleston, South Carolina’s port. His moniker was given to him because of his colorful look and black, thick beard (to which he attached lighted fuses as a form of intimidation during combat).

Perhaps the most renowned pirate of all time, a claim that owes as much to his distinctive moniker as it does to his piratical ability. Much to his credit, though, was his ability to raise a sizable fleet of pirate ships, which he led into different attacks. Most significantly, the armada led by Blackbeard (now known as Commodore) was able to blockade the port of Charleston, South Carolina for many days. Several ships were seized and several hostages were taken during the blockade, all of which were finally swapped for different medications necessary by his crew. In the helm of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, Teach tormented the West Indies and the Atlantic coast for years until being defeated by an English attack at the Battle of Ocracoke off the coast of North Carolina. Teach is claimed to have fought off a slew of Englishmen in his dying minutes before succumbing to his wounds, which included at least five bullets and over twenty sabre cuts.

England, Edward

Edward England holding an axe illustration.

Years of operation: 1718-1720

The Caribbean Sea and the Indian Ocean are the two locations.

Marooned in Mauritius, where he died soon after.

His claim to fame is his flag design.

Edward England, like Black Bart, became a pirate after being kidnapped and forced to join the crew of a swashbuckler ship. He climbed his way up the pirate ladder after a short spell in the Caribbean, eventually gaining command of his own ship, which he used to attack slave ships in the Indian Ocean. But England is most known for the design of his flag, which included a skull above two crossed thigh bones and became known as the “jolly roger” flag, which is linked with all pirates.

Rackham, “Calico Jack”

Calico Jack holding sword illustration.

Years of operation: 1718-1720

The Caribbean Sea is the location.

In Port Royal, Jamaica, he was hanged and gibbeted.

Famous for becoming the first pirate commander to let ladies on board.

Calico Jack didn’t do much to earn his position in pirate legend. He was a mediocre pirate who concentrated his efforts on seizing modest fishing boats and commercial ships. Rackham met and fell in love with the now notorious Anne Bonny during a short effort at retirement in 1719, and she would accompany him on his future exploits, dressed as a man to hide her identity. Rackham’s crew unknowingly took another disguised woman, Mary Read, on board when they captured a Dutch merchant vessel later. Bonny and Read were brilliant pirates, and it was because of their success that Jack Rackham became renowned. Rackham was so unfit for the role of captain that when his ship and crew were ultimately taken, he was too intoxicated to fight, leaving only Anne and Mary to protect the ship and crew.


Listen to our podcast on modern-day pirate hunters with Robert Kurson: 




The “famous pirates in movies” is a list of the most famous pirates that everyone should know. These are the 5 most famous pirates that have been portrayed in movies.

Related Tags

  • famous pirates for kids
  • most famous pirates
  • real life pirates
  • history of pirates
  • most famous pirates of the caribbean