Top 10 Most Famous Pirate Ships of All Time

What was the powerful and most famous pirate ships ever? Sea pirates have made their presence known in the maritime sector almost from the beginning of the industry’s existence. Despite their long connection with the seas, the precise pirates’ tale of the majority of pirates remains a mystery to the rest of the world. The world had experienced a period in history when piracy grew so widespread. That many trade ships, which carried vast quantities of wealth and precious commodities, were pillaged by the most skilled pirates the world has ever known.

In addition to their legendary ships, which they skillfully outfitted not only to withstand the raging waves of some of the world’s most treacherous oceans but also to conquer their naval opponents through the barrels of their powerful cannons, they possessed a number of other formidable assets. These ships were so dreaded that their adversaries would often surrender. As you can guess, today we are going to talk about some of the most dreadful pirate ships that have ever existed in the history of humanity.

The 10 Most Famous Pirate Ships in History:

10. CSS Alabama

CSS Alabama Most Famous Pirate Ships in History

Even though it was officially a warship, the most devastating Confederate raider in history deserves to be included in this list. The screw sloop-of-war Alabama, constructed by John Laird Sons and Company of Liverpool, England, was a significant achievement for the Confederate States of America in 1862.

After being renamed, the ship, which was originally named Enrica, was converted to a cruiser and commissioned as CSS Alabama on August 24, 1862. Under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, Alabama spent the following two months capturing and destroying ships in the North Atlantic and intercepting grain shipments from the United States headed for Europe.

Also read: Top 10 Most Famous Pirates in History.

Alabama was created with speed and deceit in mind. The ship was 220 feet in length and 32 feet in width, and it had a capacity of 350 tons of coal. When Semmes took possession of another ship, he would drop his camouflage flag and hoist a Confederate flag to signal his victory over the enemy.

At its most devastating, Alabama was destroying an average of one Union ship every three days when it was at its most destructive. Alabama was destroyed by the Union cruiser Kearsarge off the coast of Normandy on June 19, 1864.

9. Rising Sun

rising sun pirate ship

Rising Sun was a pirate ships with 35 guns that boarded a crew of 135 men that were under the leadership of Captain Christopher Moody. Black Bart had previously commanded Moody’s prior crew until Moody decided to form his own. A brigantine with eight guns, under the command of Captain Frowd and a sloop with the same number of firearms, accompanied the Rising Sun on her voyage in 1718.

During an inspection of Moody’s fleet for signs of aggression and piracy, Jamaican Governor Archibald Hamilton came away convinced that the infamous vessels were used to rule over the waters between the islands of St. Christophers and Santa Croix, where they burned and destroyed the ships that they had successfully plundered.

As a result, Hamilton was forced to seek more powerful naval vessels from England, including a 40-gun battleship, in an effort to defend the area from the horror of Captain Moody and the Rising Sun.

8. Revenge

Revenge pirate ship

Major Stede Bonnet was a pirate under the most improbable of circumstances. If you play too many games, as I do, you will get familiar with him. In Assassins Creed: Black Flag, you may recall him as the chubby guy you meet on a beach at the beginning of the game who actually helps you to reach Cuba.

He was a well-to-do plantation owner from Barbados with a wife and children when, at the age of around 30, he made the decision to join the pirate crew. He is perhaps the first pirate in history to have purchased his own ship: In 1717, he bought a ten-gun sloop that he called the Revenge and equipped her with his own crew.

The pirate, who had told the authorities that he was going to obtain a privateering license, really turned pirate right away after leaving the port. After being defeated in combat, the Revenge was captured by Blackbeard, who used it as a makeshift base while Bonnet “rested.” Bonnet was caught and killed on December 10, 1718, after he was betrayed by Blackbeard in a fight.

Also read: Top 10 Notorious Female Pirates in History.

7. The Fancy

Fancy pirate ship

As one of the most fearsome ships of the Golden Age of Piracy, this warship was known for its speed and deception. If you’ve ever seen the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ll recognize it as the real-life equivalent of the Black Pearl. It embarked a crew of 140 men commanded by Henry Avery, a successful privateer who had sailed with the ship before. Avery and his crew, on the other hand, planned a revolt in May 1694, and they became pirates.

In the Indian Ocean, they renamed the ship Fancy and used her to loot the trade ships that passed through the area. When the Ganj-i- Sawai, a 40-gun treasure ship belonging to India’s Grand Mogul of India, was successfully overwhelmed in July 1695, it was one of their most gratifying triumphs to date.

After a while, it turned out to be one of the most valuable scores ever amassed by a pirate. A strange incident occurred one day when The Fancy and her crew were lost at sea.

6. Delivery

Delivery pirate ship

During the voyage to Africa in 1721, George Lowther served as a second mate on board the Gambia Castle (Delivery), a mid-sized English Man of War. The Gambia Castle was delivering a garrison to a stronghold on the African coast when the incident occurred. When the troops arrived, they discovered that their living quarters and food supplies were deplorably inadequate.

Lowther had fallen out of favor with the captain and was able to persuade the disgruntled troops to join him in a mutiny against him. They seized control of the Gambia Castle and renamed her Delivery before setting off for the high seas to participate in piracy. In his relatively lengthy pirate career, Lowther sold the Delivery for a more seaworthy ship, which ultimately led to his death. Lowther died after being stranded on a desolate island when his ship went missing.

5. Whydah

Whydah pirate ship

The Whydah was initially built as a slave ship and set sail from London in the year 1715 to capture African slaves. In honour of a West African port city named Ouidah, which is today known as Benin, the country received its name.

This 300-ton vessel, under the leadership of Lawrence Prince, played a significant role in the “triangular trade,” slave traffic that took place between Africa and Europe. It was able to achieve speeds of up to 13 knots because of its incredible speed.

When the Whydah went down in a storm off the coast of Cape Cod on April 26, 1717, it was thought to have been carrying wealth from more than 50 ships. Barry Clifford, a professional treasure hunter, found the ship in 1984 and has since collected more than 100,000 items from the wreckage of the ship.

On her second trip, the Whydah was captured by pirates commanded by “Black Sam” Bellamy while crossing the Windward Passage between Cuba and Hispaniola. The pirates seized the ship as their flagship and captured the crew. While sailing north along the eastern shore of the American colonies, Bellamy and his crew encountered a Nor’easter, forcing them to turn around. As the boat hit a sandbar, it broke apart and eventually sunk. Only two people survived from the ship’s original crew of 146 people.

4. Royal Fortune

Royal Fortune pirate ship

Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts was a legendary pirate who captured and looted hundreds of ships over the course of a three-year career. During this period, he travelled through a number of flagships. All of which were given the moniker Royal Fortune by him. The biggest Royal Fortune was a 40-cannon monster manned by 157 men. And it was capable of squaring off against any Royal Navy ship of the day.

In February 1722, Roberts was on board the Royal Fortune when he was killed in action against the Swallow, which he was commanding.

3. Adventure Galley

Adventure Galley pirate ship

In 1696, Captain William Kidd was a rising star in the world of maritime exploration. He had taken a big French prize while sailing as a bounty hunter in 1689, and he subsequently married a wealthy heiress who was descended from a noble family. In 1696, he was successful in persuading a group of rich friends to finance a privateering voyage.

Having equipped the Adventure Galley, a 34-gun behemoth, he set off on a mission to hunt down French warships and pirates in the Caribbean. The Adventure Galley was equipped with 34 cannons and 23 oars for moving the ship in calm winds in order to assist the expedition.

But It turns out that pirate hunting was not a simple task. After failing to return any loot, Kidd promised to repay the money invested, and when tracking down pirates proved too difficult, he resorted to assaulting other allied ships to make up for a lost time.

A rotting hull had formed on Kidd’s Adventure Galley, which he abandoned off the coast of Madagascar in 1698. Despite his best efforts, Livingston in New York refused to grant him a pardon, and he was sent to London, where he was imprisoned and get hanged for piracy in 1701.

2. Queen Anne’s Revenge

Queen Anne's Revenge

This is my favorite on the list. Edward Teach, well known by his pirate nickname Blackbeard, was one of the most dreaded pirates in history. In November 1717, he seized the French ship La Concorde, which had been used to carry enslaved persons across the Atlantic.

He re-equipped the Concorde with 40 guns and renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge after the Queen of England. Blackbeard controlled the Caribbean and the eastern coast of North America from his vessel, which he armed with 40 cannons.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge went aground and was forced to abandon ship in 1718. In 1996, divers discovered a sunken ship in the seas off the coast of North Carolina that they believe to be the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

1. The Flying Dutchman (Most Famous Pirate Ships in History)

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is one of the legendary pirate ships. In European nautical mythology, the Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship destined to sail forever. When it appears to sailors, it is supposed to herald the impending arrival of catastrophe. It’s a cursed ship, or you might refer to it as the ghost ship.

As told in the most popular version, Captain Vanderdecken risks his life by promising to round the Cape of Good Hope during a storm. And is thus condemned to sail around the Cape for the rest of his life. It is this version that served as inspiration for Richard Wagner’s opera Der fliegende Holländer (1843), which is set in the same world as the story’s protagonist.

Another tale tells of Captain Falkenberg, who spends his whole life cruising the North Sea. Battling the devil for his soul via a game of dice. Similarly, the dice-game theme appears in the English author Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798). In which the mariner sees a phantom ship on which Death and Life in Death play dice in order to win him back to life.

For more than two centuries, the Flying Dutchman has been mentioned in many publications. According to the accounts of sightings, it was a ghost ship with full sails that was seen, while others claimed to have seen it sailing through fog or rough water.

However, many others claimed to have seen the ghost ship making significant progress in calm waters, which is inconsistent with the accounts of sightings. Since the myth’s inception in the 1600s, many sightings of the phantom ship have been recorded around the Cape of Good Hope and the surrounding area.

All of these sightings occurred during very severe weather when gales were slamming against the shores of the island. According to the accounts that have been written down, the ghost vessel seemed to be trapped in a storm and on the brink of crashing with rocks before disappearing into the darkness. At the end of the day, we can call it just a myth. However, this is the most powerful and feared pirate ships of all time.

FAQs: most famous pirate ships

Who was the most famous pirate ship?

The most famous pirate ship in history is likely the Queen Anne’s Revenge. It was captained by the notorious pirate Blackbeard (Edward Teach) and was known for its imposing appearance and powerful arsenal.

What is the best pirate ship name?

“Pride of the Sea” is often considered a popular and evocative name for a pirate ship. It is the best pirate ship name as per most choices.

What is the most feared pirate ship?

The most feared pirate ship is commonly associated with the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the flagship of Blackbeard. Its menacing appearance, with black sails and a reputation for ruthless attacks, struck fear into the hearts of sailors and merchants.

Who was the nicest pirate?

Pirates were generally not known for their kindness, as their activities involved acts of violence and theft. However, there were some pirates who were relatively more compassionate towards their crews or captives. One example often mentioned is William Dampier, a buccaneer who displayed more considerate behavior compared to some other pirates of his time. Nevertheless, it is important to note that piracy, by its nature, involved criminal activities, and notions of kindness among pirates are rare and relative.

Most famous pirate ship names?

Here are some famous pirate ship names:

  1. Queen Anne’s Revenge
  2. Black Pearl
  3. Jolly Roger
  4. Revenge
  5. Adventure Galley
  6. Whydah Gally
  7. Flying Dutchman
  8. Golden Hind
  9. Fancy
  10. Ranger
Who was the deadliest pirate of all time?

Edward Teach, well known by his pirate nickname Blackbeard, was one of the most dreaded pirates in history.

What was the most feared pirate crew?

The Blackbeard Pirates are an extremely infamous and powerful pirate fleet led by Emperor Marshall D. Teach.