Despite their fearsome nature, pirates have long been a source of fascination for people of all ages – not least thanks to the successful Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise in recent years.
If you’re keen to find out more about the true figures and events that inspired these swashbuckling tales, Barbados holidays can be the ideal means to discover more about the real Caribbean pirates of old – including tracing the real-life figure that inspired Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow.
Bartholomew Roberts – commonly known as Black Bart – was the most successful and notorious raider in the history of piracy, and held dominion over Barbados as well as Martinique during the early 18th century. Many of the 470 vessels reputed to have fallen to the captain surrendered without a fight, so fearsome was his reputation.
Many other famous figures in pirate history also called Barbados their home, or were frequent visitors to significant ports such as that of Bridgetown. These include Stede Bonnet, born on the island in 1688, and his most famous cohort Blackbeard (real name Edward Teach). The gentleman and the pirate formed an unlikely partnership of plundering and killing in the early 17th century before Blackbeard met his end fighting the HMS Victory and Bonnet was hanged for his crimes.
As the Caribbean’s easternmost island, Barbados was often the first port of call for trading ships bound for Spain or arriving in the New World – and not all of these visitors had fair trade on the agenda. The legacy of some of Barbados’ most notorious residents can still be seen today, including the castle at St Philip’s parish built by Sam Lord in the south-east of the island, where the pirate kept his wife imprisoned in the cellar.
Various travel companies offer tours of the island’s pirating highlights for people taking Barbados holidays to uncover this tantalising dark side of the island’s history. You can also find numerous hotels, restaurants and other establishments based around a pirating theme, with Jolly Rogers flying high and traditional varieties of rum on the menu.
Modern day Barbados is a far cry from the cutthroat island of its past however, as evidenced by the unarmed police seen walking around Bridgetown. Although many people view the island’s piracy period as a lesson from history that should not be forgotten, others are content to take a lighter attitude and embrace the more flamboyant, fairy tale aspects of the pirate legend, making Barbados a fun holiday destination for adults and children alike.
Clint Starr writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.