The Pirate Realm
The history of piracy, like that of many other historical endeavors, contains numerous accounts of individuals and their piratical exploits. Given that the majority of pirates couldn't read or write, details of various events were related orally and have over many centuries become highly embellished. So too have “facts,” which are often blurred in a mire of hearsay and fictional accounts written by authors of the day. It's fair to say that the majority of traits and adventures that have become an amalgam of stereotypical piracy are a direct result of fiction and accounts such as Alexandre Exquemelin's 1678 work
Thirst for High Seas Adventure
Captain Charles Johnson was credited with the 1678 version of
The Romance of Piracy
In the grand scheme of things, conflicting information about pirates doesn't appear to have had a major impact on the general population, who continue to devour all historical and sometimes hysterical accounts of the world's most famous pirates. The overwhelming image of pirates continues to be that of a romantic rogue, a smartly attired man wielding a sword who swashbuckles his way into the heart of a fragile lovestruck girl. Alternately, pirates are often depicted as swarthy tricksters limping about on peglegs, sporting large gold earrings and bandannas, and carrying ever-present parrots on their shoulders. Still others are tagged as black-hearted devils — smelly, unkempt men who are loaded to the gills with munitions, impervious to drink, and drooling for busty wenches (see Chapter 17).