Why pirates are portrayed as one-eyed
Categories: HistoryBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/why-pirates-are-portrayed-as-one-eyed
The image of a pirate is very often complemented by a black eyepatch. This pattern is so common that sometimes it seems that all the pirates were one-eyed. So how were things with the eyesight of the sea robbers and was one-eye really a real epidemic among them?
The human eye is a rather vulnerable organ. In the old days, when cold weapons, cannons with cores and smoothbore pistols and muskets were widely used, an eye wound was not always fatal. It should also be borne in mind that the hit of the core into the ship's deck or bulkhead generated a hail of wooden chips, which often hit the sailors in the face. Because of this, the percentage of one-eyed sailors has always been higher than among "land rats".
But were all the pirates one-eyed, or at least through one? Of course not. There were a lot of people with all kinds of injuries on pirate sailboats, there were also one-eyed ones, though not so often. At the same time, many people had a black patch on one eye. What was it, really a fashion tribute?
The love of bandages is explained very simply. In those days, when people crossed the seas and oceans under sail, and the main material on any ship was wood, fire was handled very carefully. The slightest spark could cause a fire, which almost always became fatal in the open sea. Oil lamps were used in the cabins, and darkness reigned in the holds.
The most dangerous room on any warship, including a pirate, was a hook camera. This is a small triangular room under the deck in the bow of a sailboat, where gunpowder was stored. In this place, the use of any fire was strictly prohibited. Moreover, the captain could order to hang or keel anyone who enters this part of the hold... in boots. Once the soles were nailed with nails that could strike a spark and ignite gunpowder when they hit the deck nails.
When the crew chamber exploded, the ship was guaranteed to die along with the crew. Visits to the powder magazine, and indeed to the hold, had to be made many times a day. It was light on deck during the day, and darkness reigned in the holds around the clock. The adaptation of the eyes took time, which in battle could cost lives.
Therefore, pirates, and sometimes just sailors, preferred to cover one eye with a black blindfold. To see in the darkness of the hold, it was enough to move it and open the eye. Yes, it usually takes at least 25 minutes for the human eye to fully adapt to the dark.