A French Noblewoman Who Became a Ferocious Pirate Legend

Samuel Reason | December 4th, 2017

During the height of the Hundred Years War between England and France, one French noblewoman became feared throughout France for her ferocious never-ending appetite for revenge. Jeanne de Clisson with the help of the English outfitted three warships and caused havoc to any French ships crossing the English channel. Some may say privateer but at the end of the day, this is just a fancy word for saying, pirate! Jeanne would show no mercy and slaughter nearly the whole crew of the King’s ships, letting just one sailor take back the message to the French king that she had attacked him once again. Her need to avenge her husband’s death was so ferocious it earned her the nickname The Lioness of Brittany.

badassoftheweek.com

In 1300 Jeanne de Clisson started life in a rich and powerful French family. At the early age of 12, she was married to an affluent man Geoffrey de Chateaubriant. However, he died quite unexpectedly and Jeanne was a widow with her two children to look after. Then she met her second husband, Olivier de Clisson, a well respected Breton noble who had spent his life defending Brittany from the English. Olivier took in her children as his own and it is said their love was very great.

The great oath of vengeance

Rumours started to spread that Olivier was, in fact, a traitor. Even though he had been defending Brittany from the English, King Philip VI began to doubt his loyalty. What happened next was particularly surprising, Olivier was not only captured and charged with treason, he was executed. But it was no simple execution, for the first time in history, a nobleman’s head was put on public display for further humiliation. This could not stand, Jeanne was so shocked by the fashion of her husband’s execution that she swore she would not rest until she had her revenge.

The Black Fleet

It sounds like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean, doesn’t it? But no the Black Fleet was indeed the name of Captain Jeanne, the Lioness of Brittany’s, group of warships. The English king provided her with three warships which Jeanne chose to paint black and dye the sails red. And if anyone was still confused about her intentions, by naming her flagship My Revenge, everything became clear. Her reign of piracy lasted 13 years, slaughtering entire crews and putting several coastal villages to sword and fire. Only ever leaving a couple of witnesses to take the message back to the French king.

A happy ending?

Her relentlessness and anger gave her the nickname The Lioness of Brittany, seen as a heroine or a monster depending on who you asked. She was able to survive her piracy days even after her flagship was sunk. Finding love again for an English noble, Sir Walter Bentley, seemed to quell her thirst for vengeance and she lived out the rest of her days peacefully in the Castle of Hennebont.

Next Article
  • The World’s Most Poisonous Tree Is Dangerous All Over

    The little apple of death or as the locals call it Manzanita de la Muerte is a fruit that you may have thought only exists in a fairy tale. But this sweet fruit is not from a story at all, this fruit comes from the most dangerous tree in the world: the manchineel. [caption id="attachment_5469"...

    Read More
  • The Place The Furthest From Anyone Is Called Point Nemo

    So far from any landmass that the closest human to you, if you were ever to go stand on Point Nemo, would actually be located on the international space station. Sounds incredible no? This is just the truth of how distant everything is from Point Nemo. So if you are looking to get away from...

    Read More
  • The Only Voter In The Region

    India has over 800,000 polling stations when it gears up for a general election, but once they are completely unique: it only has one vote, and his name is Guru Bharatdas. A priest that takes care of a temple deep in the jungle. Five polling officials and two policemen have...

    Read More
  • War Pigs Were Used By The Romans

    During the time of ancient warfare, many empires were using military animals to supplement their armies prowess. Everyone has heard the stories of giant elephants that made up the ranks of the Persian armies. Well as always your enemies will find a countermeasure and invest in how they can defend themselves against your deadliest weapon....

    Read More
  • The Company Teaching Crows To Clean Up Cigarette Butts

    We often comment on how polluted the world is and that no one takes enough incentives to throw things in the trash correctly. Many companies around the world are trying to help governments create recycling programs that work, and startup company is even employing some friendly crows to do the work for them. And why...

    Read More
  • Some Hunters Save Time By Using Pre-Seasoned Buckshot

    When it comes to hunting and shotguns, you really never know what a ballistic company may make next to try and encourage hunters to buy more of their products. If it is not ingenious ways to hold their rifles or stylish looking ammo holders and numerous other accessories then the one thing they like to...

    Read More
  • Julius Caesar And The Year Of Confusion

    What we have now known as 46 BC in modern times was an extremely odd year during the time of the Roman Empire. This was at the height of Julius Caesar’s beautiful Rome and he was preparing to shake up the year with some large calendar reforms. In the end, it extended for 445 days...

    Read More
  • Shrek The Sheep Whose Fleece Provided Twenty Suits

    Shrek was just an ordinary sheep living in South Island, New Zealand when one day Shrek decided to go on an adventure and escaped from his enclosure. Merino sheep normally have their coat sheared once a year, but Shrek hated this with a passion. For over 6 years his escape was a successful one, hiding...

    Read More