How a Pirate Ship gets its Name

Quite naturally, ships and galleons have long been the iconic image of piracy! Without his (or her) trusty pirate ship, a pirate captain and his crew would have been unable to earn money, travel or even have anywhere to live! With that in mind, it’s only natural to wonder how this essential part of a pirate captain’s kit got their famous, and often infamous, names.

A Little Pirate Ship History
Pirate ships were rarely bought outright, in fact they tended to be stolen, or ‘acquired’, by the Captain after a battle or through a deal. So, in some cases, the ships would come already named. Of course there were those pirates who would change the names of the ships they acquired, like Blackbeard.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge
A hugely famous example of this process is the ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge‘ pirate ship, which was sailed by the infamous Edward Teach (otherwise known as Blackbeard). The ‘Revenge‘ was a French Man-O-War originally called the Concorde but it fell into Blackbeard’s possession after a battle at sea and was renamed the Queen Anne’s Revenge. In cases such as this, it was common for the pirates to choose a name for their pirate ship that had special significance to them.

For example, in the case of Blackbeard, the name was chosen because of his Jacobite beliefs; the Queen Anne’s Revenge was a nod to the displaced Queen Anne in England who had been replaced by a Hanoverian heir. Blackbeard supported the Jacobites’ cause: to reinstate her and her line to the British throne. In other cases, however, the names may be chosen to represent a particularly noticeable feature of the pirate ship itself.

Pirate ships would often become as famous as the pirate captains who sailed them, so it always paid to think carefully about their names. After all, no pirate captain is likely to have wanted to be known as the infamous captain of the “Fluffy Duckling” – hardly fitting for terror on the high seas!

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