HowStuffWorks Explains How Pirates Work on the Big Screen and on the High Seas

"Pirates of the Caribbean" premiere sparks questions of fact versus fiction

ATLANTA (July 6, 2006)/ PRNewswire/ -- Pirates have been an intriguing part of world history for more than 3,000 years, capturing the imaginations of the young and old and inspiring dramatic tales of hunts for buried treasure. This week's highly anticipated release of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" will mark the second film in the Disney trilogy about pirate adventures. To distinguish lore from historical pirate fact, the award-winning resource Web site created "How Pirates Work," a comprehensive article about how pirate mythology developed, how pirates actually worked in their hey day, and, to the surprise of many, how modern pirates still terrorize the high seas today.

Actor Johnny Depp's Academy Award-nominated performance as Captain Jack Sparrow in 2003's "Curse of the Black Pearl" upheld the image of the swashbuckling, treasure-hunting, rum-drinking outlaw that comes to most people's minds when the think of pirates, but the quintessential pirate of modern thought does not always reflect reality. As HowStuffWorks explains, although pirates have been assaulting sea vessels since the 14th century B.C., most current pirate legend is actually taken from the Golden Age of Piracy during the 17th and early 18th centuries and woven with popular fictional characters such as Captain Hook of "Peter Pan" and Long John Silver from "Treasure Island."

One myth that "How Pirates Work" exposes is plank-walking, which is actually a literary invention. However, pirates did employ the brutal act of keelhauling as punishment for mutinous crew members. Fans of the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie might have been surprised to see a female pirate aboard the Interceptor, but, as the article points out, there are actually several documented cases of women pirates throughout history.

The article also takes a look at modern piracy, a phenomenon that many people do not realize remains a threat today. With nearly 300 pirate attacks occurring in 2005 alone, piracy still has a great effect on the commercial shipping industry in areas prone to raids, such as Indonesia, Somalia and Bangladesh. HowStuffWorks outlines the typical assailants in these modern strikes, determines what kind of booty they seek, reviews the methods most commonly used to breach ship security, and outlines survival strategies for potential victims of a pirate attack.

"How Pirates Work" is just one of thousands of entertaining and informative topics that HowStuffWorks covers objectively and reliably, making one of the most trusted resource Web sites available.

Contact: Michele Wisch


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