One of the most mysterious pirates was female buccaneer Charlotte de Berry. She was supposedly born in 1636 although there are no records or mentions of her until exactly two hundred years later, in 1836 when Edward Lloyd documents her in ‘History of the Pirates’.
The stories and accounts of Charlotte de Berry that follow all seem to stem from that original mention in Lloyd’s story printed in a Penny Dreadful (a Victorian magazine filled with gory tales).
This has led to many doubting the authenticity of her details, with some believing that she is entirely fictional.
Stories tell how Charlotte de Berry was born and raised in England. In her teens she fell in love with a sailor – a relationship forbidden by her parents. Like many female pirates, Charlotte disguised herself as a man and followed her sailor to sea.
On board the ship her true identity was discovered by an officer who was attracted to Charlotte. In hopes of claiming Charlotte for his own the officer set her husband the most dangerous tasks, and eventually accused him of mutiny; flogging him to death.
With her lover dead, the officer made advances towards Charlotte – she was not impressed and killed him the next time they were in port. Charlotte soon caught the eye of the captain of a merchant ship. The Captain kidnapped Charlotte and forcibly married her – she decided to kill him too!
Taking control of his ship, Charlotte made herself captain and enjoyed many years of pirating. She went on to fall in love with a Spaniard, become shipwrecked, turn to cannibalism, and eventually jump overboard to join her lovers in death. Apparently her body was never found so no one knows if she survived… or if she ever really existed at all.