A list of real-life historical pirates. When the word pirate is mentioned, images of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow instantly come to mind. Real pirates, however, were (and are) a lot more intimidating. These marauders and swashbucklers have roamed the seas for hundreds of years, raining terror and mayhem down on poor unsuspecting souls. These are the most successful and/or terrifying pirates to ever sail the ocean blue.Who is the most successful pirate? This list of real life pirates will befuddle, maybe even bewilder you, knowing that these men of the high seas actually pulled off heists worthy of the movies.
It may be hard to believe, but the most notorious pirate to ever live was a former prostitute named Ching Shih, the wife of pirate Zheng Yi and later the wife of the couple's adopted son Cheun Po Tsai. Sounds twisted, right? Ching Shih terrorized coastal villages from Macau to Canton in the People's Republic of China until she eventually gave up her pirating ways, living out her 69 years running a casino and brothel.[In the "Pirates" movies, she's depicted as "Mistress Ching," one of the members of the Brethren Court.]
Age: Died at 59 (1785-1844)see more on Ching Shih
Age: Died at 39 (1783-1822)
Birthplace: Xinhui District, Chinasee more on Cheung Po Tsai
Franois l'Ollonais was a sadistic French pirate believed to have eaten the bloody heart of a Spanish solider during his bloodthirsty reign. His most notable plundering expedition involved the town of Maracaibo, Venezuela, where he left a path of destruction in his wake after raping, pillaging and burning much of the city. His treasures from that attack included gemstones, cacao beans and over 200,000 Spanish Dollars.Pursued by the Spanish, l'Olonnais eventually ran aground in Panama, where he was captured and, yes, devoured by the native tribes.
Age: Died at 33 (1635-1668)
Birthplace: Les Sables-d'Olonne, Francesee more on François l'Olonnais