Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Peg-legged Pirates Received Disability Benefits

PORTLAND, Ma. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Having a disability might hinder your chances for employment at some jobs, but not for career buccaneers.

Pirate historian Colin Woodard claims some sea captains offered crewmembers who accidentally fell from the crow’s nest some extra doubloons.

Woodard, author of The Republic of Pirates (Harcourt), says swashbuckling injury was so common that “a certain share of the plunder was set aside like a primitive disability benefit.”

How’s this for a hook? Pirates were also the first equal opportunity employers. Many runaway slaves left their plantations for life on the high seas.

Woodard explains, “Those with African descent could be equals in the pirate community and had a greater potential for freedom.”

In fact, pirates even supported women’s rights – or at least a woman’s right to crossdress.

Woodard says Anne Bonny and Mary Read were female pirates who pillaged in men’s clothes, but stood trial in dresses.

Pirates will get even more benefits this Friday (May 25) when Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End hits theaters.

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