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Admiral James Norrington.

"The world has changed, thanks to you, Admiral Norrington."
Cutler Beckett to James Norrington[src]

Admiral was a rank given to the highest naval officers. The British Royal Navy, French Royal Navy, Spanish Royal Navy and the East India Trading Company employed this rank. In the East India Trading Company, an admiral's uniform was gold-trimmed, and complete with shoulder epaulets. Pirates who led fleets or joint crews were known to have assumed the title of admiral.


"Ah, Admiral."
"You summoned me, Lord Beckett?"
"Yes, something for you there. Your new station deserves an old friend.
Cutler Beckett and James Norrington[src]

The word "admiral" in Middle English comes from Anglo-French amiral, "commander", from Medieval Latin admiralis, "emir", admirallus, "admiral", from Arabic amir-al- أمير الـ, "commander of the" (as in amir-al-bahr أمير البحر "commander of the sea"). Crusaders learned the term during their encounters with the Arabs, perhaps as early as the 11th century. The Sicilians and later Genoese took the first two parts of the term and used them as one word, amiral, from their Catalan opponents. The French and Spanish gave their sea commanders similar titles while in Portuguese the word changed to almirante. As the word was used by people speaking Latin or Latin-based languages it gained the "d" and endured a series of different endings and spellings leading to the English spelling "admyrall" in the 14th century and to "admiral" by the 16th century.

Rankings of Admirals[]

Admiral Henry Morgan of the English Royal Navy.

"The admiral has me imprisoned, he may torture me, he killed me crew, but he will never find the treasures me sake."
Unnamed pirate captain on Unnamed admiral[src]

In the British Royal Navy, there were several types of admirals, depending upon their seniority, skill, and accomplishments. The lowest form of Admiral was known as "Rear Admiral". Rear admirals were mostly the newly promoted, younger admirals who generally commanded smaller fleets from a frigate, which they also captained personally; they usually served under an immediate supervisor, commonly a "Vice Admiral". Vice admirals were in control of larger fleets used for war, rather than patrol or single engagements. Above that was the admiral of the fleet who commanded a variety of small squadrons commanded by lesser admirals. The higher ranks of admiral usually possessed a larger warship, such as a ship of the line or other large man of war as their flagship. The only rank above admiral of the fleet was "Lord High Admiral" who were the generals who were in command of the admiralty, the high command for the entire navy.

Notable admirals[]

Behind the scenes[]

"Reinstatement to your former rank and status, all rights and privileges attendant. And I think a promotion is due, as well. Do you agree, Admiral Norrington?"
Lord Cutler Beckett to James Norrington[src] (deleted scene)



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