Historical Female Pirates

Music to Explore By Dorianne's Adventures Galleries The Ship's Roster Tour of the Ship Historical Female Pirates Ship's Galley Site Map A Treasure Chest of Links Credits and Bibliography

So ye thought I were the only one, did ye? I comes from a long line o' women adventurers who dressed as men tae gain equal treatment. There be many more, but as they were ne'er unmasked, we'll ne'er know who they were. Below there be listed links tae some, an' names o' others, as sort o' a mini-tribute tae them that had the guts tae fight an' the blood-thirstiness tae kill for the right tae live as free as they wanted.    

The information to follow was compiled from many sources, and is presented here for the entertainment and enlightenment of my visitors. The facts contained herein may or may not be actually true, but I have done my best to include actual research findings. Please remember that any information found here or anywhere on the internet should be checked for accuracy before it can be considered reliable. For further readings, please view my credits page, which includes a bibliography of the works I've used in my research.)

Real Female Pirates

Anne Bonney
Anne is probably the best known female pirate. She took what she wanted from the world, and never made apologies. These two pages offer a wealth of information on this formidable woman. ("Anne" is one link, "Bonney" another.)

Mary Read(e)
Wherever you find Anne Bonney, you'll also find Mary Read. I found no pages dedicated soley to her, but she, too, was a woman of fierce courage. In their last battle, only Anne and Mary and one other sailor fought to save their necks from the gibbet. When the men refused to come out of the hold to fight, Mary shot down at them, killing a few, and wounding others.

Grace O'Malley (Granuaile)
The Irish daughter of a pirate who grew up to be a pirate herself.

Ching Shih
Ching Shih terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. A brilliant female pirate, she commanded 1800 ships and about 80,000 pirates.

Alvida (aka Alwilda, Alfhild, Alvild) was the daughter of Synardus, the king of Gotland. Her parents kept her locked in her room, and set two poisonous snakes to keep away all but the most ardent of suitors. The most persisant and brave fellow turned out to be Prince Alf of Denmark, and though he passed the test Alvilda's parents were none too happy about the match. Deciding she wasn't ready to be wedded to some stuffy Prince, Alvilda took advantage of her parents' irresolution and hightailed it out of there. She joined a crew of cross-dressing women, but had barely got started in a career in terrorizing the Baltic coast when they came across a crew of pirates that had lost their Captain. They were so impressed by her capable skills that they voted unanimously to elect her as their new leader. With these fresh reinforcements beneath her ruthless guidance, this formidable woman became such a nuisance to the merchant trade that her former betrothed, Prince Alf, was dispatched to bring the troublesome pirates to justice.

Alvilda and her crew fought back to the best of their abilities, but in the gulf of Finland they were bested at last. Prince Alf and his men boarded the pirates' ship, where hand to hand fighting ensued. After sustaining heavy casualties, Alvilda's crew succumbed and she herself was taken captive. With her beauty concealed by a face covering helmet, she was taken prisoner, and it was only when this helmet was removed that Prince Alf realized who the scourge of the seas had been. For her part, Alvilda was so impressed by how Alf had fought in battle that she married him on the spot. She went on to share his wealth and throne as Queen of Denmark, and together they had a daughter, who they named Gurith. Whether little Gurith followed in her mother's ocean going ways is not known.

Charlotte de Berry
Charlotte de Berry was born in England in 1636. Her sea career started when she dressed as a man to follow her husband into the Royal Navy. Their ship was attacked, and Charlotte's deceit was discovered. She was forced onto a ship bound for Africa, but the Captain made the fatal mistake of assaulting the fiery woman and earning her hatred. She took her revenge by leading his crew in a mutiny, after which she beheaded the villain with a sharp dagger. Instead of ending her adventures there, Charlotte became Captain herself and led ship and crew in raids along the African Coast, capturing ships heavy with gold.

Rachel Wall
Rachel Wall (1760-1789) was born Rachel Schmidt in 1760 on a farm near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Around the age of 16 this blue eyed brunette took a trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to attend the funeral of her grandfather, Joseph Kirsch. While wandering the docks in this comparatively large city, she met a shady gentleman by the name of George Wall. Against the wishes of her mother she married the man, and the two of them went to live in Boston, where Rachel took a job as a maid, and George found work as a fisherman. Upon his very first voyage, George found some partying friends, and he and Rachel and these new pals partied away what little money they had. Left without money to pay the rent, our trouble hungry couple borrowed or stole a ship at Essex, and began a pirating career off the Isle of Shoals. They lured in passing ships by pretending to be in distress, but when their would-be rescuers arrived they found only death at the hands of the Walls and their unsavory crew. Once all valuables were removed to their own ship, the pirates would then sink the captured ships and all those aboard.

Their villainy came to an end in 1782, when George was washed away in a storm. Rachel herself was rescued and taken back to Boston, where her thieving ways continued on a smaller scale. She kept her hand in by creeping aboard ships docked in the harbor and raiding the cabins for theft worthy goods, and in this she was fairly successful. In 1789, however, she was captured, tried and convicted of highway robbery. On the stand she confessed to piracy, but claimed she had never killed anyone. Regardless, she was sentenced to death and hanged with two other criminals on October 8 of the same year.

Jane de Belleville
Jane de Belleville was a French noblewoman who turned against her country when her beloved husband was executed by the French as a spy. With vengeance in her heart, she sided with the English in the 1345 invasion of Brittany. Seeking to enter the fray herself, she purchased and prepared three ships with money from the sale of her worldly possessions. She was a ruthless mistress of revenge at sea and on land, and no ship nor town near the coast of Normandy was safe from her wrath. With a flaming torch in one hand and a sword in the other, she must have been a fearsome sight to behold, as she burned whole Norman villages to the ground.

Female Pirates in Fiction

-Work in Progress-

There are hundreds of female pirates in fiction, even if I don't include the many female pirates in romance novels both in and out of print. This is just a taste of what will be a long, ongoing project. I plan to include a section on Belit, the Pirate Queen of Conan fame, as well as many others. If you know of any female pirates you'd like to see featured here, fictional or otherwise, please drop me an email.
Morgan from the movie Cutthroat Island
Morgan's father dies keeping the family treasure out of the hands of the evil Dawg. Wild adventure ensues as Morgan races her evil Uncle to the treasure. Starring Geena Davis as Morgan, and available on DVD and VHS. See more pictures of Morgan in my Photo Gallery.