Blackbeard the Pirate from an 18th century engraving. Blackbeard would put lit fuses in his hair to frighten would be opponents.
Rrrgh Matey . . . It be the Outer Banks Pirate Festival coming up this Wednesday through Friday at the Kitty Hawk Kites Jockey’s Ridge Crossing store in Nags Head. You’ll need some knowledge to know your arm from a yardarm, so here are a half dozen facts about pirates.
1. Pirates rarely killed their victims. What the pirates wanted were the ships and the contents of the ships. If the crew in the ship the pirates wanted thought they were going to die anyway, they would fight that much harder with the possibility that the ship would be damaged or sunk.
2. Grog was either rum diluted with water or weak beer. Sugar, lime juice or spices would often be added to make the drink taste better.
3. The most common rule on a pirate ship was no fighting while at sea. Pirate ships had clear guidelines and rules that all on board agreed to. Rules included how loot would be divided, shipboard chores and a chain of command.
4. Gold and silver coin and jewelry were rare finds for pirates. Most of the pirates’ bounty consisted of the cargo of the ships—timber, sugar, cotton tobacco. To dispose of the cargo a friendly port was needed. Excellent example: Blackbeard and Ocracoke.
5. The Jolly Roger—the skull and cross bone—was not the only pirate flag. Many pirates flew a simple black flag. The object was to strike fear into the hearts of the merchant ship so they would surrender without a fight, saving lives, time and the money spent on ammunition.
6. September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. A Saturday this year, saving teachers everywhere the time and effort they would normally put into correcting their students’ language.