Ep. 33: History’s Female Pirates: Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and Grace O’Malley

The history of piracy is steeped in legend, full of myth and fantastical stories. But what if I told you that some of these stories are based on actual facts? In this contraband portion of our ‘Controversies and Contraband’ series we explore the hidden world of female pirates through Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and Grace O’Malley, and how their origin stories in England and Ireland led one of them to ‘switch sides’ and join Queen Elizabeth.

If you like the show, consider becoming a Patron starting at £1 per month:

Show notes:


‘Women and English Piracy 1540-1720: Partners and victims of crime’ by: John Appleby

‘Piracy and Privateering’, in Craig Lambert, Steven Mentz and Claire Jowitt (eds), Routledge Companion to Marine and Maritime Worlds (Routledge, 2020)

‘Villains of all nations’ by: Marcus Rediker

‘Bandits at Sea’ by: C.R. Pennell

‘Pirate Nests and the rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740’ by: Mark Hanna

‘The Golden Age of piracy’ by: Benerson Little

Articles and Essays:

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest; yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum? Exploring the truth behind the pirate stereotype’ by: Elaine Murphy

Pirates in our Channel: The Cromwellian Navy in Ireland, 1649-1653’, History Ireland (July 2011), By: Elaine Murphy

Schulte, Ryann (2016) ““But of Their Own Free-Will and Consent”: Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and the Women Pirates in the Early Modern Times,” Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History: Vol. 6 : Iss. 1 , Article 2.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s