PotC Wiki
PotC Wiki

Jack Sparrow's hanging at Fort Charles.

"And for these crimes, you have been sentenced to be, on this day, hung by the neck until dead. May God have mercy to your soul."
Port Royal clerk[src]

A hanging was the lethal suspension of a person by a ligature. In this sense, a hanging was specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck, though it also referred to crucifixion and death by impalement in which the body would remain "hanging". Hanging has been a common method of capital punishment since medieval times, and was the official execution method some areas of the world.

The convict stood with a rope around his neck on a trapdoor which was suddenly opened or on a chair or barrel which was kicked away, so that he fell down and the rope broke his neck and/or strangulated him. The corpses of the executed were often hanged on a gibbet at the coast as a warning for other criminals.


"Hurry, Papa! Or we'll miss the hanging!"
"It's not a hanging, dear, it's a trial. The hanging comes this afternoon.
A girl and her father[src]

This form of punishment was widely used for punishing pirates in the Age of Piracy. At some point before the quest for the Sword of Cortés, a pirate known as Sven the Vicious was captured by the British and hanged in Port Royal. In 1718, after the battle of Ocracoke Inlet, the surviving members of Blackbeard's crew were hanged in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1720, the infamous pirate Calico Jack Rackham and his crew were captured by the British privateers on a pirate hunting mission. They were all taken to Jamaica for trial, where they were all sentenced to hang.

The infamous pirate Captain Jack Sparrow was sentenced to hang although he had committed some good deed, such as saving Governor Weatherby Swann's daughter Elizabeth as well as taking part in the mission to save Will Turner and capture the cursed crew. Though Jack was close to his death sentence at Fort Charles, Will Turner helped Jack escape his fate.[1] This act would backfire when Lord Cutler Beckett arrested Will and Elizabeth about a year later, condemning them to death by a hanging.[2]

The mass execution of those associated with piracy.

After gaining possession of the heart of Davy Jones, Lord Beckett would lead a mass execution of numerous pirates and pirate associates, in which they would hang before singing Hoist the Colours.[3] Several years later, an English girl would mistook a pirate's trial at the Old Bailey courthouse for a hanging as she walked with her father.[4] On the very same day, former pirate and privateer Hector Barbossa would threaten to hang Joshamee Gibbs unless if he would offer anything to them for their search for the Fountain of Youth.[4][5] In 1751, during her search for the legendary Trident of Poseidon, the astronomer Carina Smyth was mistaken for a witch by the inhabitants of Saint Martin, which led to her being arrested by the British authorities and sentenced to death by hanging. However, she and another convicted prisoner, the infamous pirate Jack Sparrow, managed to escape that fate with the help of the Sparrow's former crew.[6]

Behind the scenes[]

  • In Jeff Nathanson's 2013 early draft of the Dead Men Tell No Tales script the execution of Jack Sparrow and Carina Smyth was set in Port Royal. During the attempted escape, Carina fell through the gallows trapdoor, hanging for a few moments and nearly choking to death, until Jack fired a severed human head from a cannon, destroying the gallows and saving Carina.[7]



External links[]

Notes and references[]