4 Astonishing Things About Pirate Flags That You Should Know
If you are one of the millions of die-hard fans of the Pirates Of Caribbean movie franchise, you must have seen various flags on the pirate ships.
Caribbean piracy saw its glory days in the Golden Age of Piracy which spanned from the 1650s and 1730. During this period, the red pirate flag emerged as a symbol of privacy and could be seen on the masts of every pirate ship.
The earlier versions of the pirate flag didn’t contain any design elements but solid colors like red, black, and white. Over the years, the human skull and two crossed bones beneath it became the prominent symbols on the pirate flags. Some versions also have crossed swords instead of bones.
Pirate flags are now used by flag enthusiasts for indoor and outdoor decoration purposes. If pirate flag fascinate you, here are four astonishing things about pirate flags that you should know.
The origin of pirate flags
Pirate flags are also known as Jolly Roger flags. The term jolly roger prominently symbolized the skull and crossbones pirate flag; it is also used synonymously to address any pirate flag. The origin of the flag goes back to the 17th century, when piracy was at its peak.
Some notorious pirates like Francis Spriggs, John Taylor, Sam Bellamy, and Edwards England displayed flags on their pirate ships. They are the people who made it mainstream to have a jolly roger displayed on a pirate ship.
The famous No Quarter Red flags
Apart from the standard black pirate flags with skulls and crossbones, red flags were also the prominent versions of pirate flag in the history of pirates. The meaning of the red pirate flag was “no quarter given,” which meant the pirates would show no mercy to the people on the ship they loot, and no lives would be spared. That is why all the ships at the time dreaded the ships carrying red flags.
On the other hand, the black pirate flags denoted if the people on the ships surrender without a fight, they will be spared from death.
A warning for attackers
Though the whole Caribbean region used to be scared of pirate ships, they were susceptible to attacks too. Often, pirate ships found themselves under attack by the royal fleet, navy ships, or even rival pirates trying to steal their stolen loot.
The jolly roger worked as a warning sign for the attackers – it was meant to deter the attackers and scare them away or face the wrath of death. That is why the pirate flags used to have elements like skulls, bones, blood, and swords.
Displayed only when needed
Unlike popular belief, pirate ships never used to display the jolly roger all the time. As they were pirates, they didn’t want to scare away their victims. If the victim ship sees the pirate flag from a distance, chances are they might escape even before the pirates can reach them. That is why pirates only displayed the flag when they were close enough to attack the merchant ship.
Each version of the pirate flag has a rich history associated with it. These flags are still collected by enthusiasts and are available on various online flag stores.
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