The Strange, Tragic True Story Behind ‘Our Flag Means Death’

The Max series Our Flag Means Death, starring Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi, may seem like it is based on an outlandish premise.

What would entice an already wealthy gentleman to turn to piracy, and why would a legend of the high seas such as Blackbeard himself take such an inexperienced captain under his sails? The show takes some liberties with history, but Stede Bonnet, or the “Gentleman Pirate,” was a very real person who left the life of the gentry to commit crime on the high seas in 1717.

Why he made this choice remains a mystery, but he had many daring adventures in his short and unexpected career as a pirate.

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