Female Pirates

From Captain Charles Johnson, A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates . . . (London, 1724)

Courtesy of the Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

Female buccaneers were rare, but Anne Bonny and Mary Read briefly led pirates’ lives in the Caribbean. Both sailed with Captain “Calico” Jack Rackam and fought beside their shipmates.

In 1720, Calico Jack and his entire crew were captured, tried, and sentenced to death. But both women were pregnant, and the court deferred their sentences. Read died of a fever in prison; Bonny gave birth in prison and was set free.