Culture

The History Of Same-Sex Relationships Among Pirates

Ahoy matey! This common pirate phrase may mean more than you realize!

Pirates are known for eye patches, walking the plank, and collecting booty, but there are more pirate traditions than you might be aware of, like the fact that same-sex relationships were quite common among the pirates of the Caribbean. Matelotage was a gay marriage of sorts practiced by male pirates from the 17th century. Some of the most successful pirates had relationships with other men as a means of companionship and protection. Having a mate was both a personal and professional arrangement for a pirate - and the word 'mate' itself is probably a holdover from the institution of matelotage. 

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