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The Great and Famous Female Pirates

The article gives insight into the famous women pirates.

Anne  Dieu  le Veut


Known by the birth name as Marianne Dieu le Veut which has the meaning of “Anne Gods Want It” was born in France in a1650. She was a Pirate Breton and a relentless and hard person known to participate in all form of her life varying from combat to Command.

Anne Dieu Le Veut

In the year 1684, she was married to the buccaneer Pierre Lelong who was the French Capes first captain. She accompanied her husband at the sea in his acts of piracy. Anne was considered as the lucky char by her husband, unlike other superstitious men. They had a daughter named Marie Lelong. Her first husband died very soon after which she married Joseph Cherel who also died leaving his son  Jean Cherel as an orphan.

In 1693, Laurent was made the governor of Jamaica which resulted in captivity of Anne and her children as hostages for three years. They were freed in 1698 after many steps of France. Later she united with her husband and her later life after that is unknown.

Anne Bonny (1700-1782)

She liked to hang out with Pirates and met John “Calico”, Jack Rackham. They had a love affair and she ran off with him. She became one of the women pirates of history with a little mystery. The British tried to take her castle, but she fought them off and the castle became known as the Hen’s Castle.

Anne Bonny
Anne Bonny

They never attacked that castle again. She was one of the best known female pirates who had marked her presence in the pirate world as being fierce and courageous. Anne Bonny’s life was very hard but was less audacious than Mary Read, the other best known female pirate. Anne Bonny was a child born out of an illicit relationship between her mother and a lawyer, William Cormac for whom her mother worked as a housemaid in Ireland.

Mary Read

Mary Read was born in the late 17th century in England. She took traditional jobs as male like a soldier initially and then as a merchant sailor. She turned pirate into 1710s after the attack of buccaneer and worked to impress others to consider her into ranks. Mary then boarded Calico Jack Rackams boat for shorter duration and won the reputation of a fearless woman.

Mary Read

Although being heroic for many times, she and her crew were charged with the act of piracy. To avoid her execution she came with the reason that she is to give birth to a child and was captivated. She later came down with fever and died in prison.


She was a lady with an arranged marriage to a prince staring her in the face. Her father, a Scandinavian king, arranged for her to marry Prince Alf of Denmark. She strenuously objected to this and with some of her friends took to the high seas. They dressed as men and set sail for the Baltic where she met up with a pirate ship without a captain. She became the captain and they became very successful.

This very success was also the downfall of her life as a pirate. Prince Alf was sent to stop this troublemaker. After a fierce battle, where she and her crew were forced to surrender, she changed her mind about the arranged marriage. She was so impressed with him that marry him she did and eventually became Queen of Denmark. At least this is what legends tell us.

Grace O’Malley

Grace O’Malley was considered the real Pirate Queen. The British tried to take her castle, but she fought them off and the castle became known as the Hen’s Castle. They never attacked that castle again and she gained the loyalty of all of her husband’s men and moved to Clare Island, and started recruiting fighting men from Ireland and Scotland.

She became known as a pirate because she started, while transporting goods in trade, demanding taxes from English ships. She decided that since the British could do that to ships, she could do it in her waters.

Grace was captured in one of her raids. She resumed with her marauding after her release but British authorities attacked her and her fleet. Grace then requested Queen Elizabeth for assistance to return her ships and fleet. She urged her to let her retire in peace.


Described by some as an Amazon (woman warrior), Rusla was a Norwegian Viking princess who strongly opposed her brother being King. So with her followers, she went to sea. Rusla raided Ireland, Britain, Iceland, and Denmark. She also fought in Norway against her brother Omund. Rusla finally beat him and became queen. However, she had angered many of her fellow countrymen and was conquered and killed by them.

There seems to be some confusion over where she reigned, Denmark or Norway. There also seems to be some confusion over who actually brought about her downfall, her brother Thrond, her brother Omund, the people of Telemark, or the King of the Danes. There is even some confusion over whether she even existed or not but the legend of the 7th-century princess is still around.

Cheng I Sao

One of the most badass pirates of the early 19th century was Ching Shih who is also known as Cheng I Sao (Wife of Cheng). She was the Chinese pirate leader who traumatized and captured the China Sea during the reign of Jiaqing Emperor.

Ching Shih

Ching Shih was a prostitute at the beginning of her career when she married to Cheng I in 1801.  Later with the support of her husband she turned to piracy from prostituency. His husband was the commander of the pirate fleet and fought bravely in the rebellion of Vietnamese. Cheng, I had united a pirate coalition that numbered up to 400 ships and around 70,000 sailors and then died in 1807. They both have adopted a son and named him Chang Pao.

After the death of her husband, she suddenly began to maneuver over her powers to make her way in being a leader. She also grew some intimate relationships with her stepson that made her the lieutenant. She later married him that fixed the hold of her family on the fleet.

Codes and Laws by Cheng I Sao

Cheng I Sao developed some code of laws which were imposed strictly. She made rules that no one else can give command except the leader of the fleet. She made sure that if a village helped them regularly, they cannot be stolen and it will be an offense if someone did that.

Raping the female captives was a serious crime. Even if the female pirate allowed that and any sailor intimated with her then he was supposed to be beheaded and the female will be overboard with her legs tied. If any sailor was absent without prior information and caught, then he will lose one of his ears to make an example for other squadrons.

Cheng I Sao with her men was involved in many types of pirating that included weak merchant ships to sacking. Also pillaging of many villages alongside the river. The Chinese government tried many times to destroy the pirates but always failed and in turn, they lost many of their ships.

She died in 1844 at the age of 60. In her last days, she was involved in running a brothel and in gambling houses

Sayyida al- Hurra

Although Muslim Women were not very powerful or in notice during the 14th century, Sayyida al-Hurra was an exception. She was initially the Queen of Tetouan from 1515 to 1542 and then known as the 16th century Pirate Queen, but her mention as a pirate is not highlighted by Islamic records. Sayyida was very powerful and was as popular as the famous pirate Barbarossa.

Sayyida al Hurra

Though her real name is still not known, the name Sayyida al-Hurra is meant as “noble lady born to be independent and free and who never bows to any superior authority”.Sayyida was from Granada from where she flew with her family to Morroco after the city fall in 1492.

She married the governor of the city of Tetouan and ruled the city as a Queen. When the city was destroyed by the Castilians, she with her husband fortified it and settled there. Sayyida became the last person in the history of Islam to hold the title of al-Hurra after her husband’s death in 1515.

Sayyida was turned in to piracy against the Christian enemy because of her memories of the humiliation of being fled away from her home in childhood. Initially, she approached to Barbarossa of Algiers who had control over the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Sayyida controlled the West. Later she assembled her own fleet and created havoc on the Portuguese and Spanish shipping lines.

Sayyida ruled over the sea for 30 years until she was overthrown by her son in law in 1542. She was thrown out of her power and pirate.

Sadie Farrell

Also popular as “Sadie the Goat”, Sadie Farrell was an Irish-American criminal who was mostly involved in river pirating, thieving, gang leading and kidnapping.

Sadie Farrell

She was considered to be the most dangerous assailant in the fourth ward of New York. Whenever she finds anyone traveling alone, she would target them by striking on the head like charging a goat. She would hit and her partner would rob them. One of her crime partner who was equally popular was tall, long and tough six feet female bouncer named Gallus Mag.

While venturing the waterfront area of the Westside Manhattan, she witnessed that members of the Charlton Street Gang were unsuccessful in boarding a small sloop that was anchored in the mid-river. She later offers help to them and then became the gang leader. Slowly she along with her gang started raiding villages, kidnapping for ransom, robbing farmhouses and riverside mansions.

Sadie and her men continued the criminal activities for many months and then have hidden their cargo until they can be disposed of. After that, the locals started protesting them with gun fires which lead Sadie to return to the Fourth Ward. She now became the “Queen of the Waterfront”.

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