Real Vessels That Inspired Pirates of the Caribbean Ships

Real Vessels That Inspired Pirates of the Caribbean Ships

After a few years of waiting, the fifth series of the fantasy movie Pirates Of The Caribbean is finally being released this month. One of the features that make this fictional series of pirate movies sensational are the epic ships that sail the Caribbean seas and even through the waters of Asia. But are these ships as fictional as the movie series itself? Or are they based on real, historical vessels?

Let's go through some of the most iconic ships from all Pirates Of The Caribbean installments to discover interesting historical facts about these sailing vessels and the real, notorious pirates that sailed them.

The Black Pearl

In the first installation of the fictional piracy film, the ship that features the most is captain Jack Sparrow's Black Pearl. From the film's background, the Black Pearl was originally a merchant vessel that belonged to the East India Trading Company that was hijacked by Sparrow. But what is the nonfictional background of the Black Pearl? With a length of 156 feet and armed with 32 cannons in the movie, the Black Pearl is a hybrid of a galleon and East Indiaman ships.

The Black Pearl ship on location

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

A galleon is an enormous, multi-deck sailing ship that was primarily used by European states during the age of sail from 16th to the 18th century. The East Indiaman was a name given to ships sailing under the charter or license of the East India Company for European traders in the 17th to 19th century.

Queen Anne's Revenge

This ship that appeared in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is actually a nonfictional merchant sailing vessel launched by England in 1710. A year after the ship's launch, it was captured by the French and was used as a slave ship. It was in 1717, near the island of Martinique, that the ship was captured and used as a vessel by pirates. Then in 1718, the notorious (real) pirate, Edward Teach, or better known as Blackbeard, captured the ship and ran it aground at Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina.

Historical photo of the ship Queen Anne's Revenge

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

Queen Anne's Revenge, originally named as Concord, is a frigate ship with 40 cannons and weighs a total of 200 ton. It has a length of 103 feet with beam dimension of 24.6 feet and can take 125 crew and passengers. This historical ship is one of the most interesting ships that appeared in the pirate movie series. In real-life, Blackbeard sailed Queen Anne's Revenge from the west coast of Africa down to the Caribbean and attacking several merchant ships that belonged to the British, Dutch, and Portuguese.

To learn more about the history of Blackbeard and Queen Anne's Revenge visit the ship's project website here.

East India Trading Company Armada

As mentioned in the Black Pearl's historical basis, the East Indiamen was a general name given to ships that were chartered by the East India Trading Company. A number of these fictional East Indiamen ships, with real historical backgrounds, appeared in the pirate movie series. Some of these are the barge ship HMS Endeavour, the frigate ship HMS Raven, and the ship of the line HMS Diamond. Click here to discover the real East Indiamen ships that sailed during the age of piracy.

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is one of the most notable fictional ships in all of the Pirates Of The Caribbean series. It is a combination of a galleon and fluyt ship which is a Dutch sailing vessel that is originally designed as a cargo vessel. One of the inspirations for the Flying Dutchman's look is the 17th-century real-life Swedish warship called the Vasa. This ghost ship was also inspired by the legend story of the ship with the same name or De Vliegende Hollander in Dutch. Although considered as a 17th-century nautical folklore, many notable people have reported sightings of the Flying Dutchman.

The ghostly Flying Dutchman ship

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

The Empress

The Empress ship made its only appearance in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End where it was originally captained by Sao Feng and later on by Elizabeth Swan. The first interesting fact that envelopes the Empress is that it is a depiction of a historical vessel called a Junk ship. A Junk ship is an ancient Chinese sailing vessel used in the early 2nd century AD, during the Han Dynasty, and radically developed in the Song Dynasty period. But the most interesting historical fact about this Junk ship, Empress, is that it was fictionally captained by Sao Feng who is a depiction of the 19th-century legendary pirate Cheung Po Tsai. A Junk ship is able to sail long distances and is considered as very fast because of the structure and flexibility of its sails.

Modern version of a junk ship in Hong Kong

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

HMS Interceptor

Also appearing in the first installation of Pirates Of The Caribbean, the HMS Interceptor was a fictional brig in the British Royal Navy serving for His Majesty King George II. This brig was considered as the fastest vessel commissioned by the period's monarchy. In reality, the HMS Interceptor is portrayed by a replica of the Lady Washington ship which is a small wooden merchant sailing vessel that sailed the waters of the Caribbean through the island of Saint Vincent during the latter half of the 18th century.

Lady Washington ship or the HMS Interceptor

[Image Source: Wikipedia]

The Dying Gull

The latest ship to be introduced in the timeline of the fictional pirate movie series is the Dying Gull ship that will be seen in the new installment Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The Dying Gull is designed after a single-masted sloop class vessel and was depicted by the Rainbow Gypsy ship which is a Scottish trawler. This fictional ship features eight gunports, one swivel gun, and no visible cannons. Watch out for the Dying Gull if you will be catching this movie.


Here is the official trailer of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales which will be released initially on the 24th of May in Europe and 26th of May in the US. This latest installment features the Spanish pirate Captain Salazar played by Javier Bardem.

Featured Image Source: PDisney Movie Trailers via YouTube 

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