Jeanne de Clisson — Woman Pirate

In the 14th century, a Breton noblewoman by the name of Jeanne de Clisson broke both gender barriers and a lot of heads while seeking revenge for the death of her husband, who had been executed by the order of King Philip VI of France.

Her second husband, Olivier III de Clisson, with whom she had five children, was accused of being a traitor by the French authorities and was executed in 1343 by beheading.

Jeanne promptly sold all of her land and belongings and built her “Black Fleet” of ships, with which she began to harass, harry, and bedevil French ships in the English Channel, earning herself the nickname:

The Lioness of Brittany.

Her ships were painted black with red sails. She allegedly took care of on-board executions herself, often beheading her captives.

She retired after thirteen years, six years after King Philip VI died, and remarried for a third time, living a life of ease until 1359.

 

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