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Pirate News
Jack Rackham's Adventures

Most of the time when we be recallin' famous pirates throughout history we remember them based on a theatrical reputation. Morgan was cunning, Blackbeard was fearsome n' Vane was cruel. Calico Jack Rackham be a different story!

Rackham is memorable because of his fashionable Calico coat, n' the company he kept with Anne Bonny n' Mary Read. But he is still regarded as one of the famous pirates in the Golden Age of Piracy.

Much o' his life is considered a mystery until 1718 when history documents him as an officer aboard Charles Vane's ship. Vane himself had a warlike n' brutal reputation, often torturing French dignitaries n' merchants fer pleasure. To his crew he was likely just a cunning bully.

At some point during their time together thew crew held a vote to attack a French Man o' War off the coast of New York, for which an overwhelming majority, including Rackham voted yes- attack the ship. They were sure it would be loaded with wealth n' plunder, as well as be a new ship for a pirate squadron they were developing.Vane n' just 15 pirates voted against retreating from the ship, n' he loudly touted that the Captain always has final say.

Not long after the crew, lead by Rackham voted Vane out of Captaincy for being a coward and let him leave with his followers, a ship n' a respectable amount o' supplies.

Most of his adventures could be regarded as shenanigans past this point. Famously he captured a loaded British merchant ship off the coast of Jamaica, but he n' his crew lost the treasure when they evaded bounty hunters.

Jack was more famous for his affair with Anne Bonny. She fled a house wife life to sea with him, n' she took well to piracy alongside her friend Mary Reid. At one point Rackham even challenged Reid to a duel on account of her connection to Bonnie, he then discovered she was in fact a woman!

When the crew was captured, Bonnie and Reid escaped the noose because they were pregnant. Jack himself was not so lucky! http://bit.ly/2lRL7nb

A History of Tortuga

The settlement o' Tortuga has been featured prominently in Pirate Fiction o'er time, it's time to learn a little about this humble island! While Port Royal n' Nassau were much more prominent pirate ports, we shouldn't forget that Tortuga also has its own Pirate History.

Tortuga Island (Turtle Island) was a small island off the coast of Modern Haiti, or Hispanola as it was dubbed in the Colonial Era. Allegedly, when Christopher Colombus sailed into the Caribbean in 1492, he saw the Island n' named it for its Turtle shell shape.

It picked up a small colony of Spanish settlers, but it was lightly populated until French n' English colonists arrived around 1625. The new settlers meant to make a life in Hispanola but hadn't thought about the Spanish Military's presence. The Spanish occupied the Island, building a fort after they drove off the colonists. Whenever the military drove off one group of colonists another would appear somewhere else on Hispanola, causing Garrisons to shuffle around n' leave unoccupied forts fer opportunists!

The French saw this n' stole the fort to gain a foothold in the area in 1630, they also shared it with English n' Dutch colonists. The island went through 10 tumultuous years of revolting slaves, Spanish invasions, n' more before "The Brethren of the Coast" made themselves an official organization. It was a short lived group that the Spanish stamped out, but pirates began to call the island home. It was the Fourth and Final time Spain occupied the Island before England n' France reclaimed the territory in 1655. France removed the English citizens and maintained a hold until 1676 when the island was abandoned.

Throughout the 17th Century pirates would spring up from Tortuga however. Henry Morgan drew a sizable contingent of French Pirates from Tortuga in 1670 for a campaign in Cuba. France let their pirates run amok, so Tortuga was an excellent place to stash treasure in the formerly Spanish Fortifications.

The History of Port Royal



The History of Port Royal!

Contrary to what ye may have seen in Pirates of the Caribbean, Port Royal, Jamaica was a very hospitable town to Pirates. Being slightly more like what ye saw in the movie's Tortuga! It was fairly normal for port towns in the 17th Century n' very early 18th Century to welcome pirates for the simple reason that they had lots o' money to spend from their latest raid on a Spanish Treasure Fleet or Merchant Vessel.

From the Community's perspective the pirates were a driving force in Port Royal's economy, they would go ashore with a fortune n' spend most of their earnins on food, drink n' luxury goods. In the 1660's there was One Drinking House per Ten 10 Residents because of the effect the sailors had. Barter n' Trade was still fairly normal in this time period among common folk, but allegedly Port Royal ran on the exchange of coinage it had done so well.

The pirates enjoyed Port Royal because it was strategically placed along multiple trading routes they could prey on. As long as they paid their dues to the local governors they also had a safe haven to fall back to, early British Governors would welcome successful pirate crews personally. Pirates could even compose the local garrison to defend the town against attacks. It was such a famous town among pirates that they would travel from as far as Madagascar to enjoy what had become the "Sodom of the New World."

Port Royal itself was ravaged by an earthquake in 1692, n' most of the region's economic activity was moved to nearby Kingston, Jamaica. Soon thereafter the British cracked down on piracy n' made the settlement the primary location to hang n' execute unsanctioned pirates! http://bit.ly/2mUb2aE

Woodes Rogers! Scourge of Pirates!

Arrr Woodes Roger's Outfit be the perfect garb for privateers turned Governors! This outfit make colorful use of Calico, Red and Gold! Though it be regal enough to command the respect of both Pirates AND the Royal Navy, we offer it to ye as an affordable outfit! 

Woodes Rogers himself was a famous (or infamous dependin' on yer point of view) English Privateer n' Pirate Hunter. As Governor of the Bahamas he even suppressed the pirates of Nassau!

 


Bein' a privateer meant he had received a commission from the English Government to perform selective piratical acts against enemies of the crown. In exchange privateers would send a percentage of wealth back to their employer. Additionally ye were allowed to carry a "Letter of Marque" to prove yar legal status, n' sometimes allowed ye to be treated fairly as a prisoner of war if captured.

After fightin' as a privateer against the Spanish, Woodes Rogers became a pirate hunter with great support from the English. He lead an expedition to Madagascar to deal with a sizable population of pirates. Rather than fight the pirates, he offered clemency from the English government. A Full Pardon was given to any willing pirates who wanted to retire.

 


It was so successful that he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas n' was tasked with pacifying the Pirate Republic of Nassau. Many pirates accepted the Full Pardon, n' some even turned on their Brethren by becomin' Pirate Hunters! http://bit.ly/2jtj3Ax

History of Captain Henry Morgan

Sir Henry Morgan best be known by his career with Captain Morgan Rum, o'er time this Legendary figure has been cultivated into one of the most widely recognized Pirates in Pop Culture. Most landlubbers may not know the story o' the original Cap'n Morgan who is in and of himself a Legendary Pirate!

 

The real Henry Morgan was believed to have been born around 1635 in Wales. Details on who he was before he became a Privateer be scant. It is believed that he became a captain in a British privateer fleet n' routinely raided Spanish Cuba in the 1660s. The English Governor of Jamaica had been on the verge of restricting privateer activity until he was realized how much of the colony's revenue was based on piracy.

By 1668 he had been promoted to Admiral n' had his own fleet of ten ships with 500 men to attack "Spanish ships at sea." Later another 200 French pirates joined him from the Port o' Tortuga! Periodically Morgan would have to mediate between the French n' his predominantly English crews. As an Admiral, he maintained discipline in order to achieve his private goals of plunderin' Spanish towns.

 

Morgan began a piratical campaign by sacking Puerto Principe, about 50 Miles inland in Spanish Cuba. The buccaneers were then inspired to attack Porto Bello (modern Panama.) The city was the third richest settlement in the Spanish Main n' was well fortified. Not only did Morgan capture the city, he was also able to ransom it back to the governor for a Fortune.

Morgan had only been authorized to attack Spanish ships, so he was publicly scolded by the British Governor. Unofficially Morgan had become a National British Hero. Morgan's continued actions eventually led to him being Knighted and he became a Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica- frequently acting as the governor. He received orders to eradicate Jamaican piracy, but instead he welcome privateers as long as they paid him the appropriate bribes. 

Pirate Fashions has made an outfit worthy of whichever Captain Morgan ye be dressing as! http://bit.ly/2lCaB7B

 

The Mardi Gras Pirate Wench

Mardi Gras Pirates n' Wenches! All be welcome! Ye will be the Saucy Queen of New Orleans with an outfit such as this! Resplendent in Green, Purple n Gold, laden with doubloons n' treasures!

This be the perfect time to go all out with yar outfit! Costumes are abundant at Mardi Gras Celebrations, historically speakin' they allowed carnival goers to escape the bonds of social class, identities and their associated constraints. Be who ye want to be this holiday! Especially if that be a pirate! http://bit.ly/2kXP2u1

Pirates in the Gulf and Tampa Bay

Piracy has had a profound impact on the culture of Tampa Bay. We have adopted them as arrr sports team mascot, we created the Legendary Jose Gaspar- around which the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival has arisen. Tampa also be home to Pirate Fashions- Home to the World's Largest Selection of Pirate Plunder n' Riches!


We want to elaborate on how n' why pirates have left such a strong impression on the Bay Area. In the early 19th Century there was a very influential pirate captain (later a privateer) named Jean Lafitte that operated in the Gulf of Mexico. Lafitte and his family mostly operated out of Louisiana Allegedly he had a subordinate Pirate Captain that operated out of the islands near Tampa Bay named Henry Ross. Lafitte n' his pirates ran a very successful smuggling ring in the Gulf o' Mexico. And if the stories are accurate he may have held sway in the Bay Area.


Jean Lafitte became a privateer during the War of 1812 when he helped Andrew Jackson fend off the British in the Battle of New Orleans, it is believed to be the final Battle of the War.


In Tampa's first public graveyard, visitors can also find the grave stones of two men identified as Mid-19th Century Cuban Pirates. Jose "El Indio" Perfino and Captain Hubbard. Though their origins be shrouded in mystery, the Tampa Locals are believed to have hung El Indio. It is unknown how Hubbard met his end.


Jose Gaspar is widely accepted as a Mythical figure, but we have been celebrating his legend annually with Gasparilla since 1904. It is believed that he is based off of a Portuguese Seaman n Teller of Tall Tales named John Gomez- who operated along the Gulf Coast in the late 19th Century. Myth suggests that Gomez was part of Gaspar's pirate crew.
Today of course, we celebrate Gasparilla with arrr own Legendary Pirate Invasion, as of 2015 it is the third largest parade in the United States. Strike yar colors, drink some rum and revel in the Piratical Culture o' Tampa Bay! Learn more: http://bit.ly/2jzHFYG

The Mardi Gras Pirate Sets Sail!

Take Mardi Gras by storm me hearties! There be a lot of overlap between pirates and the festive outfits, revelries n' debauching of Mardi Gras- therefore Pirate Fashions has designed the Mardi Gras Pirate Costume!

To match the colors n' explosiveness that has been in Mardi Gras style since 1872 we have assembled a selection of Green, Gold n' Purple fabrics. These not be yar cheap run o' the mill Halloween costumes, these are the outfits of Legendary Adventurers and are durable enough to survive numerous, active nights in the French Quarter.  

Mardi Gras' origins date back to as far as Medieval France, when the people would celebrate "Beouf Gras," or Fatted Calf. A well fed cow would be lead in a parade, to a feast for the community. This would be to celebrate the beginning of Lent. This tradition persisted into Colonial America n' became "Fat Tuesday," or the literal French translation: Mardi Gras. 

The tradition of parading cattle disappeared over time. In New Orleans it was replaced by an elegant Mardi Gras Ball in the early 18th century. A Carnival style Mardi Gras Parade happened in the late 18th century under Colonial Spain. Both the Ball and the Carnival are hallowed traditions o' Mardi Gras. The first Official Mardi Gras finally took place in 1837 with a grand parade o' horses, carriages n' lights. In 1875, Governor Warmoth even signed the "Mardi Gras Act" to make it an official Louisnana Holiday, which it be to this day. O'ertime Mardi Gras has continuously grown into a festive parade n' night o' revelry! 

The traditional green, purple n' gold were adopted during a visit from Russian Grand Duke n' businessman Alexis Romanoff in 1872. To honor the noble's House, his House's colors were adopted into Mardi Gras as the official colors by the Rex, King of Mardi Gras. 

The best thing about Pirate Fashions is that many o' arrr items come in a variety of colors. Arrange the Tri-Colors to yarrr liking n' get ready for a night on the town!

http://bit.ly/2jUIsTZ

Pirate Lite Garb

What to wear while traveling the Caribbean? Walking around all day in the tropical heat in full historical pirate garb be a lot of work, since I spend most of my work day in pirate garb, I wanted to try something different. I wanted to show my pirate spirit with something more than just a pirate t-shirt.  I decided to mix pirate causal with authentic to become Pirate Lite, so I wore a pirate t-shirt and cargo shorts with a pirate hat, bandana, sash, belt and socks.  We got a lot of attention from the local population as well as the tourist.

Nassau Pirate Muesum 

I took a cruise to the Bahamas, with a port visit to the olde city of Nassau.  So I had to visit the Nassau Pirate Museum, it be only a few block away from the cruise ship terminal.  It be at lease twice the size of the Pirate Museum in St Augustine, so there be much more to see. They featured life sized displays of scenes from pirate history.  Their technology be a bit olde fashion such as a flip board with question n' answers, but I did enjoy it much more than the touch screen computer kiosks of other museums. Most everything was a reproduction and not an original antique. The most impactful display be the very first one, which be a live size pirate ship in the Nassau port of the 1718, one day my store may look like this.  The biggest disappointment was the lack of staff interaction, no live pirates to talk with. Their gift shop was lacking as well, but if you come to the Caribbean looking fer pyrate treasures, you will find mostly tourist souvenirs made in Asia. Overall I spend a very enjoyable hour or so.  I would highly suggest that you take a visit if ye be in Nassau.

 

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