Why is the Pirate Flag called Jolly Roger?

Why is the Pirate Flag called Jolly Roger?

Often while watching movies, every pirate ship is identified by its pirate flag that has a skull with crossbones on a black background. That is the usual pirate flag for sale we usually see. Since the beginning, we have been conditioned to associate these two things with a pirate flag.

It is already well established that pirates tend to make use of flags when they want to communicate with the sailors or pirates of the corresponding ships.

While being at a distance, these flags are used to indicate the intentions of the pirates on the other side. 

Several exhibitions have taken place around the world in various museums that have shed light upon Jolly Roger. If you want an insight into what the flag symbolizes, brace yourself for an adventure.

Origin of Jolly Roger

Jolly Roger has always been used to represent and signify terror on land or at sea. It has been used to show the pride of the pirates that own that ship. In the very beginning, the pirate flags were not musky in color. They were rather blood red.

This blood-red color has its own story. The word Jolly Roger has an origin in the French language word “Joli Rouge.” This world translates into pretty red, while others say it translates to the terrible red flag. Polar antonyms? We know. Red is the color that signifies danger.

Pirates used to use this to make their enemies aware that they would not be merciful towards their opponents. They would not be sparing anyone’s life on the other ship. When used in the ships of pirates, it declared death onboard.

On a side note, many people also have reported that there once was a pirate called Barti who used to wear a red coat. His friends and relatives gave him a nickname. They used to call him ‘Le Joli Rouge.’ Little did they know the scope of this joke and how people actually dread this word now.

Conquering Power

When sailors used to see the Jolly Roger flag, they used to get really tense, and terror used to spread out. They used to know that the closer they got to that pirate ship, the sooner they would experience death.

An interesting fact is that in the later centuries, the Royal Navy used these flags as well from their respective submarines. When the opponents used to see these flags, they would establish that that party had declared war.

The Dark Side

You might have seen children dressing up as pirates, holding the Jolly Roger flag on Halloween. However, there is a lot more to this than a cute costume. It is not a myth, and they actually exist.

They indulge in the most brutal activities one can possibly imagine. Now you might easily get a pirate flag available in department stores, but earlier, these used to be handcrafted and symbolized all the victories that the pirates had made.

The Jolly Roger flag, when raised in black color, allowed the sailors to set a sigh of relief. That is because this indicated that a few lives would be spared on the other boat.

When all is said and done, pirate flags will remain to be associated with Jolly Roger till the end of time. If you have any other interesting insights to share with us on this topic, please comment down below.

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