female_pirate.JPGYAARRR! In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, we're celebrating history's most notorious female pirates! Personally, I was unaware that there were female pirates, so this was a rather exciting discovery. (That, and it gave me plenty of Halloween costume ideas...) So! Who were the bad ass female pirates?

Anne Bonny:
Anne was an Irish pirate of the Caribbean, who disguised herself as a man to join her husband John "Calico Jack" Rackham's crew aboard the Revenge. She fought in combat and gained the respect of her fellow pirates, although she did have a bit of a temper. It's said she once stabbed a servant girl in the stomach, and a fellow pirate in the heart when he discovered her gender.

grace2.jpgMary Read:
Mary is said to have spent most of her early life in London, dressed as a boy. She eventually married a sailor and lived life as a woman for the first time. But after her husband died, she disguised herself as a man again and joined the military. When military life grew boring, she jumped on a ship going to the West Indies. Her ship was captured by Anne Bonny's crew, and Anne and Mary became close friends after Anne discovered Mary's true gender. Awww, female pirate bonding!

Grace O'Malley:
Born to an Irish "seafaring family and taxed all those who fished off their coasts", Grace famously cut off her hair when she was told she couldn't go on a trading expedition to Spain with her father because her hair would get stuck in the ships ropes. Grace participated in revolutionary activities against the English crown, and even had a famous meeting with Queen Elizabeth I.

Ching Shih:
A famous Chinese pirate, who worked as a prostitute one of Canton's floating brothels, and eventually married another Chinese Pirate, Zheng Yi. During their marriage they built one of the most powerful pirate fleets. When Zheng Yi died, Ching Shih took leadership of the fleet and "robbed towns, markets, and villages, from Macao to Canton" according to Robert Antony.