Yesterday we lived the life of pirates for the day. We explored history during ‘the golden age’ of piracy, which spanned from the second half of the 15th century through to the early 16th century. We spoke like pirates (a firm favourite was definitely ‘Arg Matey’), we dressed like pirates, we fought like pirates, we learnt about pirate ships, where pirates slept, what they ate, and we even designed our own flags and treasure maps.
After we dressed up we started by learning the names of different parts of a pirates ship and what there uses were.
We even practised drawing some parts of the ship. I drew them first to show the boys what they looked like and then they drew their own versions.
After we designed our own flags, pirates flags became known as ‘Jolly Rogers’. Noah names his ship ‘The Lava’ and Tommy’s ‘The Explorer’.
Next we designed our own treasure maps. Due to popular fiction pirates have been portrayed as burying their treasure, this actually wasn’t the case. The only famous pirate in who’s believed to have buried his treasure was William Kidd. Pirates got their treasure (mostly food and cloth but occasionally gold and gems) by raiding other ships and fighting for it. But making the maps was lots of fun anyway.
For fun we then sat down and watched ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ on Netflix, which we really enjoyed. This made us wonder what pirates done for fun, a common way to pass the time at sea (or for anyone in those days) was to play cards. They also drunk a lot of rum, rum kept well in barrels for their long voyages at sea.
Then later on we pretended we were on a pirate ship where we tried out the eye patch theory. Again due to popular fiction it’s often believed that pirates wore eye patches from injury. This wasn’t the case, it’s believed that pirates in fact wore an eye patch so they could switch it over when going below deck. It was really dark below deck so this meant one eye was already accustomed to the dark and they could see clearly very quickly. We covered one eye and then went into a very dark room, we then uncovered the eye to see if we could see straight away. It certainly didn’t take as long for that eye to adjust to the change of light. We also practised walking the plank and scrubbing the deck, our imaginations were running wild. Finally we explored where pirates slept. Captains often had their own cabin, but due to lack of space the rest of the crew usually slept on hammocks layered above each other in rows. Sometimes space was that tight that some unlucky pirates slept on the floor.
Of course our pirate day wouldn’t have been complete without a pirate’s dinner. The boys made Sea biscuits which were a staple part of a pirates diet.
For the main part we made Salmagundi, which is a fix of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruit. This was a common dish on pirates ships. However fresh food went bad quickly so was only enjoyed in the early stage of voyages. As the weeks went on pirates relied on Sea biscuits, dried goods and more rum. However it wasn’t uncommon for pirates to eat rotten meat and occasionally something fresh they caught at sea.
You can check out how we made these dishes by clicking the link above or going to recipes in the menu.
Why don’t you have your own pirate day and learn how they lived as well?
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