Pirate flag: history and photo. Interesting facts about pirate flags

Pirate flag: history and photo. Interesting facts about pirate flags
Pirate flag: history and photo. Interesting facts about pirate flags

Modern children, just like their peers many years ago, dream of hoisting a pirate flag over their schooner and becoming formidable conquerors of the deep sea. Books, films and computer games on this topic do not lose their popularity and become the basis for children's games.

Pirate flag

Why exactly is the “Jolly Roger”, as the pirate flag is commonly called, considered the main symbol of sea robbers, for what reason this name was assigned to it, when and where did it appear, and what do the symbols depicted on it mean? Let's try to figure it out.

Before answering the questions, let's remember who was considered a pirate, what these people were.

Who are they?

In reality, the sea robbers were not as funny as they are portrayed in the animated film "Abrafax under a pirate flag." The word "pirate" is quite ancient, and scientists believe that it originated as early as the 5th century BC. Translated from Latin, it means "sea robber trying his luck." Over time, other names appeared: buccaneer, privateer, filibuster, privatir, buccaneer, corsair.

Robbery "in the law"

Privateers, filibusters, corsairs and privateers practiced pirate robberiesships of other powers during the war, receiving for this special letters of marque - official permission from one or another royal house. For such a license for robbery, they all deducted a certain percentage of the state, thus replenishing the treasury. When attacking enemy ships, they had to raise the flag of the country that gave them permission. But the raised black pirate flag meant the presentation of an ultimatum demand to surrender. In the event that the enemy did not intend to do this, the privateers raised a red flag, which warned that there would be no mercy.

After the end of the wars, many hired robbers did not want to leave such a profitable business. They continued to rob the merchant ships of both their former enemies and their former masters.

How it all began

For the first time, according to documentary evidence, Emmanuel Vine began to use the "Jolly Roger" as a pirate flag in the late 17th - early 18th centuries. The image on his flag that we know today was supplemented by an hourglass, which meant the following: "Your time is running out." In the future, many leaders of the sea robbers developed their own unique version of the Jolly Roger pattern. Raising such a flag warned the captains about who they would have to deal with.

pirate flag picture

The oldest surviving pirate flag, the photo of which you see below, is in Portsmouth's National Museum of the Navy of England. He was captured in action off the African coast in 1780. And today you can seesmall bullet holes with burnt edges.

Pirate flag photo

What color is it?

The black pirate flag familiar to us from movies and cartoons. However, this was not always the case. Initially, the pirates used a red canvas, which meant that everyone would be destroyed, no mercy should be expected. In addition, sea robbers could use both state flags to intimidate or reduce the vigilance of their opponents, and banners of other colors, designating themselves for allies.

Why is it called that?

Many people wonder why the pirate flag is called the "Jolly Roger". Today there are several theories trying to explain this.

The first of them says that during the plague and other contagious diseases, a black flag with two white stripes was raised on ships to warn other ships of danger. In the future, the stripes became crossed. They were joined by a human skull, which was used by the sea robbers.

Another version is based on the documented fact that in France the flag of marque was officially called Joyeux Rouge - "jolly red". British pirates rethought and heard this: Jolly Roger (Jolly Roger). Let us also recall the fact that at the end of the 17th century in Great Britain laws against vagrancy were adopted - rouge laws, and the word "Roger" can be understood as "swindler", "beggar", "tramp". In addition, in the northern provinces of England and Ireland, the leader of the dark forces was sometimes called "old Roger".

There is moreone hypothesis: the pirate flag got its name thanks to King Roger II of Sicily (1095-1154). This ruler was famous for his many victories both at sea and on land under the red banner, which depicted crossed bones.

Popular symbols

For us, the obligatory pattern that adorns the pirate flag (pictured below) is a human skull and two crossbones on a black background.

abrafax under a pirate flag

Indeed, this symbol of death was the most widely used among both sea robbers and on tombstones in England. No less common signs that reminded everyone that a grave awaits were skeletons, hourglasses, swords and spears, crossed swords and sabers, raised glasses and wings. These were popular symbols that anyone could decipher. So, an hourglass and wings meant elusive time, and a full glass meant a toast to death. Similar images were found both individually and in various combinations.

Personal Rogers

As already mentioned, the skull and crossbones is one of the oldest and most famous variants of the Jolly Roger. It is worth noting that it was in this form that it was used by Edward England, a sea robber from Ireland, who hunted robbery in the Indian Ocean in the first quarter of the 18th century. Many captains tried to create their own easily recognizable pattern on the flag.

So, the rather famous Welsh captain Bartholomew Roberts, who hunted in the Caribbean in the 18th century, adorned a piratethe flag (the picture is just below) by himself, standing on two skulls above the abbreviations AMH (A Martiniquar's Head - "Martinician skull") and ABH (A Barbadian's Head - "Barbadian skull").

Pirate flag

For some reason, this Welshman very much disliked the inhabitants of these islands, and, correctly understanding this hint, ships from those parts preferred to surrender without a fight.

Christopher Moudin, who pirated in the Carolinas in the early 17th century, decorated his pirate flag, the photo of which you see below, with a skull and crossbones, an hourglass with wings and a hand with a raised sword.

Mudin Pirate Flag

The flag of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, features a skeleton with an hourglass and a spear aimed at a bleeding heart.

Who raises pirate flags today?

Don't think that the "Jolly Roger" goes up today only at children's or adult parties. Introduced back in the First World War, the tradition of submariners entering the port after a successful operation with a raised pirate flag is alive today in many fleets. And even during the war with Iraq, many British submarines raised the Jolly Roger back to base.

DIY pirate flag

On such flags, the history of the ship was symbolically told, as well as its achievements. The crew of the submarines made a pirate flag with their own hands, supplementing it with various details after successful operations. Today's collection of contemporary Jolly Rogers inThe English Royal Navy Submarine Museum has fifteen copies, which are characterized by their own unique symbols. So, for example, red rectangles denote military ships, and white rectangles denote merchant ships. The image of the dagger indicates that the submarine took part in some kind of espionage or covert operations off enemy coasts.

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