Why become a pirate?
The reason for hoisting the black flag was as individual as the man who boarded the boat – or indeed the woman, since many of history’s most famous corsairs were women. For pirates like Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vane and the legendary Blackbeard, it was an act of rebellion against a corrupt colonial government.
Some people simply turned to piracy for a sense of adventure, the most famous of whom being Stede Bonnet – a wealthy Englishman with an estate in the Caribbean who ran away from his wife and went to sea for a life of hijinks. This was all well and good until his crew noticed he just wasn’t very good at it.
Other pirates weren’t so lucky as to have a choice. If buccaneers struck an honest ship, they’d find able crewmen to join their cause, and arguing wasn’t always the best course of action. That worked out well for some of them though – Black Bart was pressed into service, yet was so charming that he became a powerful captain in his own right, and fully embraced the pirate’s life.