Ahoy, Matey - Today's a Good Day to Talk Like a Pirate

The founding fathers of Talk Like a Pirate Day:
Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy)
and John Bauer (Ol' Chumbucket)

Roll out your Rs - September 19 is International Talk like a Pirate Day. This holiday was created in 1995 by a two friends living in Albany, Oregon – not too far from where I live. The fun has spread beyond the Pacific Northwest and Talk Like a Pirate Day has now become a reason to party pirate-style across the globe.

But what are we celebrating? Historians usually cite the time period of 1695 to 1725 as the “Golden Age of Piracy,” when famous pirates such as Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts plundered the ships that sailed across the high seas. There were even a couple of fierce female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Bonny became a pirate after eloping with her lover, "Calico Jack" Rackham, while Mary Read reportedly joined a pirate band to escape a bad marriage. 

Often regarded as romantic, swashbuckling figures, in actuality pirates often led short, violence-filled lives that ended in death during a battle at sea or at the end of a hangman’s rope.

"Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

By the Regency era there weren't as many pirates prowling the seas, though the notorious Barbary pirates terrorized ships off the coast of North Africa into the early 19th century. These pirates even had the temerity to run afoul of the recently formed United States of America. 

When the American government under President Thomas Jefferson refused to continue paying tribute to the Barbary pirates, the raiders retaliated by capturing U.S. sailors and enslaving them. In response to this outrage the U.S. launched the First and Second Barbary Wars. Though the fledgling American Navy didn't get too far with its military action by itself, when Great Britain and France took on the fight the Barbary pirates were soon defeated.

Lore from the Golden Age of Piracy lives on in books like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and movies like Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series. 

Captain Jack Sparrow
(Johnny Depp) in Disney's
Pirates of the Caribbean

Perhaps the cable channel Starz will give us a more realistic depiction of 18th century pirate life in Black Sails, a new series produced by Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon) debuting in January 2014. Here’s a preview: 

Fun fact: Toby Stephens, one of the stars of Black Sails, is the son of Sir Toby Stephens and Dame Maggie Smith, who's the star of Downton Abbey.  As a pirate would say, "Well, blow me down!"


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


  1. Maureen,

    That movie looks like it could be pretty good. I recognized that one actor that is Maggie Smith's son.

    Yesterday,Crispy Creme donuts was giving away a donut to anyone who talked like a pirate, and a dozen to anyone that dressed like a pirate. Did you know that?

    Anyway, your blog is a lot of fun to read. Keep it coming, girl!

    - Momma Cat

  2. Fun post, Maureen! I say "Aye, aye" to what Momma Cat wrote. Keep the posts coming! :-) xo Jennifer


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