Most pirates were armed to the teeth. To survive battles in close quarters, pirates had to be walking arsenals. Pistols took time to reload, so some pirates carried more than one. Blackbeard carried six in addition to a sword, cutlass and musket. In the museum, you'll see an armory of fierce pirate weaponry, including cannons, pistols, blunderbusses, swords, boarding axes and hand tools.


The flintlock pistols were a pirate's favorite weapon for boarding a ship. Because of its size, they were able to carry multiple pistols on their person. You will see a rare pair of 1720 Queen Anne Flintlock pistols with the inscription and mark of JN Sheppard on the underside of the 6" barrel and the inscription of London on the top. The wood and silver-inlaid handles have a silver face on their butts for pirates to tattoo their prey on the head after the pistol had been fired.


One of the larger hand-held weapons used during the Golden Age of Piracy, this 70-inch, 10-pound musket (even without the firing mechanism) dates back to 1780. The spiral grooves in the long barrel sent musket balls spinning 'round and 'round so that they moved in a straight line of fire.


All circa 1650, these items were owned by Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva y Enriquez. The beautiful metal work on these pieces could have only been donned by a Spanish General, Viceroy in Mexico and the Margquis de Cuellar in Spain, whose titles are inscribed on the blade. The handguard on the rapier is an intricate weaving of metal with two lions inscribed with the following: 'Phillippus IV Hispaniarium Et Indiarum Rex'. Such a beautiful piece of weaponry would have certainly defended Spain well.

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Did you know?

  • Pirates thought that having women on board their ship was bad luck.  It's why pirate femmes like Mary Read initially lived a life of piracy as men!

  • Most pirates stole their ships because they couldn't afford them.  Once they'd capture a ship, they'd convert it for pirate life by making more room for sailor living quarters and strengthening the decks to hold heavy cannons.

  • The difference between a pirate and a privateer is that privateers are sanctioned by respective governments and they don't attack ships from their own country. Pirates harass anyone passing by.

  • A galleon ship was armed to the teeth. It typically carried 74 guns, 36 of which were mounted on either side of the ship. The two guns were mounted aft.


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