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"The world's still the same. There's just...less in it."
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A pirate brand on Jack Sparrow's arm.

"I intend to see to it that any man who sails under a pirate flag, or wears a pirate brand, gets what he deserves: a short drop and a sudden stop."
James Norrington[src]

A pirate brand was a mark of a pirate; a punishment for many crimes. Jack Sparrow was forever branded a pirate after liberating almost two hundred slaves from the East India Trading Company.


"Now everyone will know what you really are, Jack. I’m doing the world a service."
Cutler Beckett[src]

It is unknown when the punishment with the pirate brand was invented, but it was already used in the outposts of the East India Trading Company during the early 18th century. When Captain Jack Sparrow of the East India Company decided to free two hundred slaves and steal his ship, the Wicked Wench, from his employer, Cutler Beckett, he turned his back on honest life of a merchant sailor forever. Many crewmembers decided to join him. However, Jack's pirate career was a short one, because an EITC fleet eventually caught the Wench and captured the entire crew. Jack was arrested and thrown into a prison in Calabar. One month later Jack and his first mate Robert Greene were brought aboard the EITC brig Sentinel where Cutler Beckett personally branded Jack as a pirate with hot branding iron.[1] Twelve years later, in Port Royal, Commodore James Norrington identified Jack as a pirate when her saw the P brand on his arm.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

  • Charles Grey's book Pirates of the Eastern Seas (1618-1723) mentions several allegedly historical cases of the East India Company punishing pirates in the Indian Ocean with the P brand during the 1680s and 1690s.


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