10 STRANGE Pirate Traditions You Didn’t Know About

Date: 2020-02-13 13:45:01

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Surprising facts about pirate culture! From the truth about their treasures to the efficiency of their clothing choices.

#10 Patch Logic
One of the most iconic accessories featured on pirates is the classic black eye patch. In many modern depictions of the savvy seabound thieves, these eye patches appear with near comical frequency. But this isn’t due to inaccurate interpretations or a high rate of eye injuries among pirates. The reason so many buccaneers opted to wear this sight-impairing adornment was to keep one eye constantly adjusted for night vision! In addition to needing to scout the seas at night, pirates would spend much of their time coming and going from the ship’s interior. This came in especially handy when engaging with enemy ships. This isn’t to say that no pirates lost an eye during their travels, though. After all, raiding and pillaging on the high seas isn’t the safest occupation.
#9 Red Flags
The foreboding image of a skull and crossbones against a black flag has become synonymous with pirates. Known widely as “The Jolly Roger”, this insignia actually varied greatly from ship to ship. For example, Blackbeard’s ship would sail a version that showed a skeleton raising a toast to the devil while spearing a dripping heart. Other incarnations might feature symbols like hourglasses, scarlet skeletons, or men standing atop a pile of skulls. But the “Jolly Roger”, for all its infamy and variations, wasn’t the worst flag a sailor could witness from an oncoming pirate ship. Much more frightening than any bone-adorned banner was a flag of crimson. The blood red flag acted as a ruthless warning for ships under siege as it signified that the attacking ship would show no mercy. It implied that upon seizure, the red-flagged pirates would slay all occupants aboard the ship and take no prisoner. In fact, one theory attributes the origin of the name “Jolly Roger” to this ruby pennant. French privateers once flew a red flag they referred to as “Joli Rouge”, meaning “Pretty Red”, and sharing a phonetic similarity to “Jolly Roger”. However, no evidence connects the two phrases historically speaking. Because of this grim reputation that the red flag amassed, sailors were known to jump ship when witnessing the skull and crossbones switched out for the “Bloody Red”.