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The Pirate Fashions Blunderbuss History

Feast yar eyes on the Pirate Fashions Blunderbuss! The ideal weapon for clearing a deck o' enemy sailors, sometimes it be called a Musketoon. This basically be a short, carbine-like musket with a flared barrel. While we discuss the blunderbuss we can bust a few myths!


Because o' its flared barrel-end it is assumed that its primary purpose was that it was a shotgun style weapon, in reality the flared barrel allows the shooter to easily load a weapon with shot. While at sea or on horseback it made loading the weapon much easier because ye could dump your ammo into the barrel without worrying about precision. They were shortened muskets essentially so that also helped with loading. They were indeed great compact weapons for close quarters, but their shotgun status should be regarded with some skepticism. If the barrel's flare had an effect on the shotgun's spread we would see more flared barrels today.

We also have a false perception that "anything" could be loaded into a blunderbuss, but the barrel would not last long firing silverware or debris- ye would destroy it internally. With most blackpowder weapons ye could actually load multiple rounds o' shot into the muzzle (two was recommended if ye were to do so.) Ye could fire multiple metal balls with a musket, pistol or blunderbuss. Ye could also load buckshot (numerous small balls) into a weapon n' use it in a shotgun capacity, similar to how a ship's guns could fire Grapeshot.

Arrr Armory has Firing Blunderbusses from most of the Colonial powers in the Spanish Main, n' we also have non-firing replicas- less expensive, but purely for prop usage. Browse Arrr Selection, we've for English, French, Dutch n' Spanish! http://bit.ly/2raJ4vK

Bart Roberts, The Tea Drinking Pirate

 

If a Pirate's Success was measured by the sheer number o' ships captured then Bartholomew Roberts be the most Successful Pirate in the Golden Age of Piracy! Posthumously he would be known as "Black Bart," n' while bein' an incredibly accomplished rogue, he is also known for his strict pirate code n' a lack of alcohol. Roberts preferred tea o'er rum! While this may have made him seem like a bit of a dandy, his crew would be unlikely to judge him, for they profited greatly from their Cap'n!

On Bart Roberts' ship a pirate was not allowed to gamble, party below decks after 8:00 in the evenin', or allowed to neglect the maintenance of their blackpowder or melee weaponry. Seducing or kidnapping a woman or a boy, n' bringing them aboard the ship was punishable by death. These be examples o' the policies that he enacted aboard his ships. With his achievements he was allowed to have strict policies.

O'er the course o' his three year career in piracy, Roberts was able to take 400-500 ships. Before he became a pirate, Roberts was a crewman aboard a slaver ship known as the Princess. When pirates captured the ship off the coast of Africa in 1719 he was pressed (forcibly recruited) into the crew as a navigator. He was quite reluctant, but when pirates see an asset, they do not take no for an answer.

Half a year into his pirate career, Roberts was chosen to be the Captain of his kidnappers. He began a pirating spree from Africa to Brazil, the Caribbean n' up the coasts to Canada. Off the coast of Brazil, Roberts was able to covertly capture a Portuguese treasure ship (the wealthiest in its fleet) n' extract it from a guarded fleet o' 42 ships with a two war ship escort. It took weeks of studying n' planning but the haul was estimated to set most men up for life. O'er three years Roberts was estimated to have made the equivalent of 100,000,000+ British Pounds in plunder.

His career was cut short by pirate hunters however. He died fightin' n' became a pirate legend! 

Anne Bonny and Mary Read, Women of Piracy!

Though Anne Bonny n' Mary Read were likely far from being the only female Buccaneers they certainly be the most famous! They be a dynamic duo that make for quite a piratical tale!

Before Anne met Calico Jack she was married to a poor sailor named James Bonny, business had brought them from England to Nassau where she freely mingled with other pirates n' sailors. She had a reputation for bein' a fiery, confrontational Irish girl. When she got into her affair with Jack Rackham she quickly left her husband fer a life at sea.

As a crewman aboard his ship she had allegedly tried to strike up another affair with a sailor, who in this case turned out to be Mary Read! Read had been disguised as a man to allow her the liberty to pirate freely without dealing with the pressures of bein' a woman in an Age not known for fair treatment of women. The two became close n' it wasn't until Jack became murderously jealous of this "man" that Read's identity was revealed to the crew.

Read (still disguised as a man) had actually fought in one of the several wars that were waged in the early 18th Century between Britain n' Spain, after-which she married an allied Dutch soldier n' made a life in Holland, following his death she sailed to the Caribbean n' became a pirate.

The women sailed the Caribbean with Rackham for about a year before they were captured by English Pirate Hunters and sentenced to hang. Bonny n' Read were able to "plead the belly," meaning they were pregnant, which temporarily exempted them from the noose. Jack was not so lucky, n' met his fate in Kingston. Read unfortunately died in childbirth, n' Bonny may have been executed though there likely would have been a record of it.

There be theories that Anne Bonny returned to her husband in Nassau, her family home in England or perhaps she resumed a life of piracy. The world may never know the rest o' her story! http://bit.ly/2lRL7nb

The Original Buccaneers

Across history n' the world o'er there have been many who be dubbed "Pirates!" Sometimes ye will have regional varieties that be immediately identifiable by an age old nickname, such as the Barbary Corsairs. Fer Caribbean Pirates ye would likely hear the term Buccaneer. It's certainly popular enough that arrr own Tampa Bucs use it fer their sports team!

Buccaneers have incredibly humble origins, they did not start out as cut throats n' rogues. In the early 17th Century Hispaniola was home to many French hunters who had no land of thar own, who made their living huntin' n' barbecuing wild boar n' other creatures. Thar Smoke Huts were referred to as boucanes, where they cooked all of the meat they harvested from the local wild life usin' Native Caribbean techniques. Effectively they cooked the predecessor to Jerked Meat, as well as Jerky!

Off the coast of these wild islands the "Boucaniers" would see Spanish Treasure ships returning to Europe with New World Riches, as well as the raiders n' early Caribbean pirates that would prey on their cargo. The hunters sold their meats to the pirates n' it didn't take them too long for many o' them to teach the pirates to cook Buccaneer style, n' for the Hunters to learn how to be Pirates!

Usin' thar small sailin' vessels meant to deftly navigate Caribbean islands they learned to creep aboard Spanish merchant ships n' became natural enemies of the Empire. O'ertime the Anglicized word Buccaneer became synonymous with Pirate or Privateer regardless o' nation.

Fer much o' the 17th Century Hispaniola became a large point o' contention between these Buccaneers n' the Spanish. One o' the most popular pirate havens, Tortuga was on a small isle off the northwest coast of Haiti, it was a popular hangout for French Buccaneers!