Pirate Women

Pirate Women Who Ruled the Seven Seas

Who were the the princesses, prostitutes, and privateers who ruled the seven seas, and why were they ignored by history?

Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas
by Laura Sook Duncombe
264 pages
Chicago Review Press

History is full of stories about Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan, and other fearsome male pirates, but what about their female counterparts? According to author Laura Sook Duncombe, “Women pirates are often absent in historical discussion because their very existence is threatening to traditional male and female gender roles. Pirates live outside the laws of man, but women pirates live outside the laws of nature.”

From the book description:

In the first-ever Seven Seas history of the world’s female buccaneers, Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas tells the story of women, both real and legendary, who through the ages sailed alongside—and sometimes in command of—their male counterparts. These women came from all walks of life but had one thing in common: a desire for freedom. History has largely ignored these female swashbucklers, until now. Here are their stories, from ancient Norse princess Alfhild and warrior Rusla to Sayyida al-Hurra of the Barbary corsairs; from Grace O’Malley, who terrorized shipping operations around the British Isles during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I; to Cheng I Sao, who commanded a fleet of four hundred ships off China in the early nineteenth century.

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