10 Most Notorious Female Pirates in History

It is no denying fact that piracy was once dominated by men. But there are some women who proved that having a dense beard is not enough to be a pirate. These badass females have broken the macho-style stereotype of piracy. Whether in Royal Navy or Rome, these hottest female pirates were some of the most badass females in the world. They were popular for being cunning and rage. They dealt with their enemies with their brutal nature and planted fear also in the powerful empires.

Here are the most notorious female pirates who created history –

10. Sadie the Goat

Sadie Farrel or Saddie the Goat was a 19th century’s famous American river pirate. In her early days, she lived as a thug in the streets of New York and has been nicknamed as Goat due to her habit of batting the head of her opponents. In a combat with her evil Gallus Mag, she lost an ear. She formed a new robbery gang in New York who eventually turned pirates. They robbed manors and farmhouses along the Hudson River and also kidnapped people. She made a truce with Mag after returning to New York.

9. Queen Teuta of Illyria

Queen Teuta was one of the earliest popular female pirates. She was a pirate queen in the 3rd century BC in Illyria. She asserted her supremacy as the ruler of Ardiaei Tribe over the Adriatic Sea and attacked Greek and Roman ships. For negotiation, the Romans sent their envoys but she killed one of them during the meeting. As a result, war had been started between both kingdoms. Lasted from 229 to 227 BC, the war led her to face downfall. She couldn’t sail again but she was still the ruler of Illyria.

8. Jacquotte Delahaye

The Haiti-born pirate became the pirate to take care of her brother who was mentally handicapped after the death of her mother while giving birth to him in 17th century. To escape the government, she once faked her death and took the identity of a man. She got back to active piracy around a few years later, and nicknamed as “Back from the Dead Read” and ruled the Caribbean waters with a well known female pirate, Anne Dieu-le-Veut. She was killed due to a shootout to protect an island captured by her.

7. Grace O’Malley

Also called as ‘Granuaile” and in other famous names, Grace O’Malley was born in a pirate family in Ireland. She took the supremacy of family tradition in the decades of 1560s and she led several raids along the Ireland’s coastline. She became the issue for the Spanish and British ships. In 1574, she got caught by the British forces and imprisoned for around 18 months. She got back to piracy after release. Again, she was defeated and regained her fleet in an appeal to Queen Elizabeth I.

6. Sayyida al-Hurra

The ally of well known Turkish pirate Barbarossa and a pirate Queen, Sayyida al-Hurra was the ruler of Tetouan, a Moroccan city. Basically, she is known as a noble lady and her real name is still not known. She ruled the western part of Mediterranean Sea from 1515 to 1542. She finally became the pirate to avenge Christian rulers. She married Moroccan king later and overthrown eventually by her son-in-law. Rest of her life is lost to the history.

5. Rachel Wall

Rachel Wall was the first woman in America who chose to become a pirate. Born in 1760, Rachel Schmidt married George Wall. Along with few friends, they started this profession of piracy. The created the base at Isle of Shoals and captured several boats and killed up to 25 sailors. In a sea accident, her crew and her husband were killed and she came back to Boston and worked as an occasional thief and a maid. She caught during a robbery and hanged in the year 1789 and became the last woman who was hanged in Massachusetts.

4. Mary Read

Mary Read was born to a sea captain and she was a close friend of Anne Bonny. She was famous for her talent to cover-up as a male and she lived early years in the costume of her dead half-brother Mark. She captured the attention of a Flemish soldier and she joined British Military. After his death, she became a sailor in the Caribbean. Over there, she was captured by the pirates and forced into their crew. Later on, she joined the crew of Calico Jack and befriended Anne Bonny. Only a few people knew her identity. She was captured by the English forces with Jack and his crew in 1720. She escaped with Bonny but died in the prison of fever next year.

3. Jeanne de Clisson

She is popular as a Lioness of Brittany and married Olivier III de Clisson and has five children. To avenge the French King Philip VI, she became a pirate when her husband was executed. She bought three warships after selling all of her properties. Along with her crew she terrorized the English Channel and captured French ships only and killed most of the crew. In 1356, she retired from piracy and married Sir Walter Bentley, an English lieutenant.

2. Anne Bonny

Her name can never be forgotten in the history of lady pirates. She was born as Irish lawyer’s daughter and married a small-scale pirate, James Bonny, in 1718 and she moved to Bahamas. Over there, she had an affair with the notorious pirate named John “Calico Jack” Rackham and left her husband. She married Jack and became his crew member.

She ruled the Caribbean seas and partnered with the notorious female pirate who was also famous, Mary Read and captured a lot of ships with her. Along with crew, Rackham was caught by the English forces and faced execution. Both Mary and Anne were exempted because they were pregnant. What happened to them next is not clear.

1. Ching Shih

She was called more often as the fearsome woman pirate in the history. She was a Chinese pirate covered the Chinese Sea in 19th century. She was a prostitute who worked in Canton city. In 1801, pirates captured her and she married the gang’s boss, Zheng Yi. She became the commander of the fleet, called as Red Flag Fleet, after the death of her husband. She attacked both Chinese and British ships. Her fleet grew from its normal size many times. In 1810, the government over there made a truce with her. She ran a brothel the rest of her life until 1844.