Sea Turtles "Aye, sea turtles!"

"What did he use for rope?" The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.
The dispute is about: his appearance in the The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Please see this article's talk page to discuss possible changes.

"He's a mute, sir. Poor devil had his tongue cut out."
You could always train a parrot to speak for this article, though adding at least one quote will suffice, using the {{Quote}} template. Once finished, this notice may be removed.
John Rackham
John Rackham
Biographical information


Ethnic group



21 December 1682


18 November 1720


Quartermaster (formerly)

Also known as

Calico Jack[1]

Weapon(s) owned


Ship(s) captained or crewed



Brethren Court

Behind the scenes
First appearance

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Last appearance

The Curse of the Black Pearl


His corpse hangs in Port Royal.


John Rackham, better known as Calico Jack, was a notorious English pirate who operated in the Caribbean during the early 18th century. He was best known for having two female pirates in his crew, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.


Early careerEdit

John Rackham started his career as quartermaster on the ship of Charles Vane, a pirate who was operating out of New Providence, Bahamas. At the end of 1718, Vane fired on a French vessel that he then discovered was a warship. Although he felt discretion and retreat was the better part of valor, his crew disagreed, and the next day he was sent off after Rackham was elected captain.

Calico JackEdit

Rackham spent several months cruising the Caribbean, having as much success in attacking smaller vessels that his little sloop would allow. He earned the nickname Calico Jack, after the colorful calico cotton attire he wore.[2] In December he captured a richly-laden merchant ship (the Kingston) within sight of Port Royal, provoking the merchants there to outfit several privateers to apprehend him. Three months later, they found Rackham at Isla de los Pinos, south of Cuba, still in his ship with the Kingston anchored alongside; Rackham and most of his crew were dozing ashore in a camp of tents made from old sails, and hid in the woods while their ships were captured. In late spring of 1719, Rackham returned to New Providence and received a Royal Pardon from Governor Woodes Rogers.

When Rackham began an affair with Anne Bonny, the pardon was soon forgotten. They had a baby that was eventually left in the care of some pirate families in Cuba, and Rackham returned to his former ways, stealing the sloop William and taking Bonny along, dressed as a man.

Return to piracyEdit

Calico Jack flag

Rackham's Jolly Roger.

Rackham and Bonny spent over a year attacking small vessels around the West Indies and took on a sailor that would later prove to be a woman named Mary Reade[3]. Rackham at first confronted the 'man' who was spending too much time around Anne, but later relented upon discovering her identity and realizing the benefit of friendship for the pair.[4]

Calico Jack Rackham's run came to an end around October 1720, after Woodes Rogers found out about his return to piracy. A British sloop led by the pirate hunter Captain Jonathan Barnet caught up with him at the west end of Jamaica while the crew was drunk and unable to fight. The women tried to sail the ship away, but it was soon overtaken. Reade, Bonny, and one man were said to be the only fighters, shooting into the hold to try and rouse the others from their hiding spot. Their shots wounded one and killed another.


Dead pirates

The corpses of Calico Jack and his pirates.

The entire crew was soon arrested and taken to Jamaica to be tried for piracy. The proceedings caused quite a stir because of the women pirates, but the women themselves escaped the noose because of pregnancy. The rest of them were hanged on November 27, 1720.[4] Calico Jack's body was gibbeted and hung as a deterrent on Deadman's Cay near Port Royal. At some point after Rackham's death one small island off the coast of Port Royal was named Rackhams Kay.[5]

Behind the scenesEdit

"Over there I see Gentleman Jocard, the slave who took over his ship and took on his Captain's name. And Ann Bonny, and the infamous Captain Rackham."
Hector Barbossa[src] (original screenplay)



External linksEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.