If you are a history buff and a fan of pirates, you should know which pirates were the most successful in history.
Even though portrayals of pirates in the recent movies make the life of pirates very interesting and enticing, the actual life of anyone on a pirate ship was quite tough and sad. Being in the sea for months and always living in the fear of getting captured by the law meant that the life was full of uncertainty. On top of that, most of the well-known pirates did not get to enjoy their loot for a long time either. Many of them died of malnutrition, disease or battle wounds. Only a handful have been known to avoid capture and retire to unknown locations with their winnings. During those periods, all prominent sea trade routes were infested with pirates. The trade ships used to carry valuable metals like gold and silver or goods like spices, tea or fine cloth. Looting these ships was quite profitable. Pirates like Thomas Tew and Black Sam even managed to amass wealth worth over $100 million in a few years.
Another key thing was that none of the most renowned pirates started their lives as pirates. Many were quite educated and a few even worked in the army. But at one point, they trained on board ships of other pirates and later became captains of their own pirate ships. But the tales about the impact of their exploits were very much dependent on who was asking about them too. For example, Sir Francis Drake, who worked for the British monarchy to fight against the Spanish, was a hero to the English but a pirate to the other party. Queen of England awarded him with a knighthood, but the Spanish offered a bounty for his head. So, their lives had multiple interpretations depending on the source.
If you want to know more about the most successful pirates, check out Insider Monkey’s piece 10 Most Successful Pirates in History which is about such pirates.