10 Real Pirates Of The Caribbean More Bad-Ass Than Jack Sparrow

The real seadogs, scallywags and gentlemen of fortune.

A pirate's life is more dangerous and adventurous than Hollywood would have you believe. The real pirates of the Caribbean were more sinister, brutal and complex than Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew of hapless henchmen. All the stories, books and movies you have lived with have failed to offer any true experience into the plundering, lawless nature of pirates, the struggles they faced against an empire and the tragic nature of their fates. The lives of Captain William Kidd, Edward 'Blackbeard' Thatch and Mary Read offer an adventure quite like no other...

10. 'Calico' Jack Rackham - The Charismatic Coward Behind Captain Sparrow

Often hapless, drunken and cowardly at once, Calico Jack is famed for his flamboyancy as much as his exploits at sea. As the original inspiration behind the similarly characterised Captain Jack Sparrow, Calico Jack was an extravagant dresser and possessed the famed desire for gold and treasure, contributing significantly to the typical perception of pirates in modern pop culture. As the quartermaster of the feared and reckless Charles Vane, Calico Jack demonstrates the key opportunistic quality that defines Disney's Jack Sparrow, as he capitalised on his captain's unpopularity to install himself as captain. Famously, Jack would defy pirate traditions and allow women as crew members, and soon he would marry the fierce Anne Bonny, against the wishes and advice of his crew. Indeed, his days at sea were marred by drunken mishaps, failed captures and a tendency to mysteriously disappear during battle. Calico Jack's greatest contribution to the pirate legacy is undoubtedly his design of the Jolly Roger. The skull and swords sigil has become synonymous with piracy and lawlessness. His design of the Jolly Roger was recently depicted in Starz's 'Black Sails' series, as he sought a symbol to distinguish his crew and strike fear into the hearts of navies and merchants alike.

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