When people think about pirates, the first “pirates” to come to mind may be Captain Hook from Peter Pan or Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Now, do the best pirates in history look anything like these fictional characters? If you’re fascinated by these sailors who wreaked havoc on commercial ships and took over their resources and passengers, then you probably have one or two of the best books about pirates.
Most pirates were privateers before they turned to a life of piracy. Privateers were privately-owned. People who became pirates were either forced off their lands or were looking for an easy way to earn money. Some of these pirates end up being the best pirates the world has ever known.
Sunshine Scenic Tours has gathered the top 10 pirates who are likely mentioned in some of the best books about pirates. Find out the infamous pirates who spread across the high seas.
10 Best Pirates in History
1. Cheng I Sao
Before she dipped her toes in piracy, Cheng I Sao, also known as Madame Ching, was a prostitute. She got married to Zheng Yi. When he died, Cheng I Sao took over. Cheng I Sao is one of the most impressive pirates of all time, not because she’s a woman but because of her astounding achievements in the world of piracy. Madame Ching…
- commanded 20,000 pirates
- took over 300 pirate ships
- forged an alliance with other pirate captains
- built a naval force consisting of 80,000 pirates and 1,500 naval ships
She plundered several ships and robbed towns in the South China Sea. Another fact that makes her one for the books and one of the best pirates is that she was able to walk away from the world of piracy without facing prosecution.
2. Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake was known for circumnavigating the globe in a single expedition. He led five ships — the Pelican, Marigold, Swan, Elizabeth, and Christopher — which were manned by 164 sailors. Sir Francis Drake was considered a hero in England, and he had a close relationship with Queen Elizabeth I.
However, the Spaniards saw him as the most hated pirate captain as he took over several Spanish pirate ships. He also raided Portuguese and Spanish ports across the Atlantic Ocean.
3. Sir Henry Morgan
He is considered to be one of the best pirates in the history of Great Britain. Before he became known as a fearsome pirate captain, he joined Christopher Myngs. Myngs is a buccaneer who led the conquest of three Spanish colonies. With Sir Henry Morgan’s connection, he became a leader of a Jamaican fleet shortly after.
Even though new to the ranks, he was successful in raiding the town of Granada and the coast of Yutacan Peninsula. In the following years, he was able to capture Puerto Principe, Puerto Bello, and the city of Panama. His capture of Panama City is considered his biggest achievement as a pirate captain.
4. Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts
He was also known as “Black Bart.” Black Bart was considered to be the last but one of the best pirates in the Golden Age of Pirates. He is a cold-blooded pirate who was known for plundering around 400 ships. This was a record that made him earn his spot in history.
He was known for selling or burning most of the vessels he captured, but he kept the Onslow and the Royal Fortune — both superior warships. Black Bart died in a battle with Captain Challoner Ogle.
5. Cheung Po Tsai
Cheung Po Tsai is of Chinese origin and is considered one of the best pirates. He was a fisherman’s son before he entered the world of piracy in the 19th century. During the best years of his leadership, Cheung Po Tsai had around 20,000 men and a hundred ships. When he died, his treasures were found inside a small cave, which was later named after him.
6. Henry Every
Another pirate who you might have come across the best books about pirates is Henry Every, a.k.a. “Long Ben.” He is known to have terrorized the Red Sea. He had a crew of seasoned pirates and a total of five ships. During his time, he and his crew took over several ships.
He was also able to capture the Grand Moghul’s “Gang-i-Sawai.” Like Cheng I Sao, Henry Every managed to walk away from piracy alive and well. He retired peacefully — an achievement most pirates weren’t able to reach.
7. Peter Easton
Peter Easton is an English pirate and was one of the best pirates. However, he is not as famous as the other pirates mentioned. Before he became a pirate, he was a servant to the English crown. He landed the pirate history books as he was never caught by anyone who was paid to catch him.
He had over 1,500 and 40 ships at the peak of his leadership. His most significant achievement was when he defeated the fleets of Sir Richard Whitbourne — where he defeated 30 ships. Peter Easton also captured prized ships, including the Spanish ship, “San Sebastian.”
8. Francois L’ Ollonais
He is a French buccaneer known for raiding several towns and capturing many ships. He ordered many land attacks — many of which were successful. He was also victorious in capturing Gibraltar and Maracaibo.
Over time, he had over 700 buccaneers. This enabled him to capture the port of Puerto Cabello without breaking a sweat. He died while attempting to take over the town of San Pedro.
9. Edward Teach
Edward Teach is better known as Blackbeard. His achievements during his life as a pirate were notable, but he was not as successful as the other pirates. Blackbeard became famous afterward and was probably mentioned in several of the best books about pirates. He captured the “Concorde,” which was later renamed as the “Queen Anne’s Revenge.”
This became Blackbeard’s flagship and is the most famous vessel in history. He was also able to capture sloops “Revenge” and “Adventure” from Stede Bonnet. In his most powerful era as a pirate, he had over 300 pirates and four ships. One of his most notable feats is the downfall of HMS “Scarborough” in his hands.
10. William Kidd
He was a Scottish privateer and a famous one at that before he became a pirate. He reached most of his successes during his life as a privateer. He fought the French army in the West Indies and pirates as well. One of his notable achievements as a privateer was the capture of Mariegalante.
During that conquest, he acquired treasure exceeding £2,000. He then became a pirate captain, where he captured the “Quedah Merchant.” His succeeding attempts were unsuccessful.
Experience Being a Pirate at Sunshine Scenic Tours
We offer the best pirate ship cruise in St. Pete Beach, FL.
With us, there’s no need to imagine the lives the best pirates in history had. Book your slot in advance and climb aboard the Royal Conquest. We can’t wait to have you with us!