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Home > History > Pirate Flags

Pirate Flags

This article describes and explains the symbolism of pirate flags.

Pirate Flags

The Jolly Roger is the name given any flag that was meant to identify a ship as a pirate ship. The most common design for a Jolly Roger was the famous skull and crossbones or skull and swords. The flag was meant to intimidate captains into surrendering their ships. The first known use of the skull and bones design was employed by the pirate Emanuel Wynne sometime around 1700. The name Jolly Roger was thought to have originated from joli rouge (pretty red), a French description of the bloody banner once flown by early privateers.

Blackbeard Flag

Blackbeard's Flag

Calico Jack Flag

Edward Steed's Flag

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