What kind of “dead man's chest” is sung about in the pirate song?

What kind of “dead man's chest” is sung about in the pirate song?

Categories: History

Everyone is well aware of the pirate song "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest" from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Treasure Island." The writer wrote it himself, borrowing much from real songs of sea robbers. But what is a “dead man’s chest” that accounts for as many as 15 people?

What kind of “dead man's chest” is sung about in the pirate song?

The notorious "dead man's chest" is not a treasure box or even a coffin. It is an island in the British Virgin Islands group in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. In general, an island is a strong word. A dead man's chest is more of a rock, devoid of fresh water and only covered in places with grass and stunted bushes.

What kind of “dead man's chest” is sung about in the pirate song?

For sailors, this island was of no value, because it was inhabited only by seabirds, snakes and lizards. Perhaps it would have remained an unknown piece of land in a little-visited part of the Caribbean, if not for one incident. In the 18th century, the famous pirate Edward Teach landed 15 sailors on the Dead Man's Chest, who started a riot on his ship Queen Anne's Revenge.

Edward Teach, nicknamed Blackbeard, was one of the most brutal robbers. The landing of rebels who, according to pirate laws, deserved death, looks like a strange act of mercy. But don't rush to conclusions. Marooning in the days of the sailing fleet was a terrible punishment. The pirate captain doomed these 15 people to a painful death. There is no water, no food on the island, and nowhere to hide from the scorching tropical sun.

What kind of “dead man's chest” is sung about in the pirate song?

Edward Teach ordered each pirate to be given a bottle of rum. This was part of a sophisticated torture, because this alcoholic drink causes intense thirst. The leader was sure that all the rebels would face an inevitable painful death. The area of the Caribbean Sea where the Dead Man's Chest is located is still called the Dead Sea. This place has always been located far from sea routes.

The likelihood of anyone discovering the rebels while they were alive was extremely low. Even if a French, Spanish or British sailing ship brought them to the shore, the pirates would still be strung up on the yards. A month later, Tich's ship returned to the island. The captain wanted to make sure his former accomplices were dead.

To Blackbeard's surprise, the people on the island were alive. They ate lizards and bird eggs, and obtained water by spreading an old sail at night to collect condensation. It was so amazing that the crew demanded that the unfortunate people be forgiven, and they were taken on board again.

What kind of “dead man's chest” is sung about in the pirate song?

Stevenson heard a song about pirates in a port tavern from sailors. They claimed that its author was boatswain William Thomas Bones, one of the island's mutineers. It was this man who became the prototype of the old pirate Billy Bones, owner of the map of the treasure island. The writer did not take the original text and wrote his own pirate song, which we all know from childhood.

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