Jack Rackham (21 December 1682 – 18 November 1720), commonly known as Calico Jack, was an English pirate captain operating in the Bahamas during the early 18th century (Rackham is often spelled as Rackam or Rackum in historical documentation). His nickname was derived from the calico clothing he wore.
Calico Jack’s Jolly Roger
Active towards the end (1717–1720) of the “golden age of piracy” (1690–1730) Rackham is most remembered for two things; First, for the design of his Jolly Roger flag (shown right). This design which was a skull with crossed swords contributed to the popularization of the iconic Jolly Roger. Second, for having two female crew members (Mary Read and Rackham’s lover Anne Bonny).
After deposing Charles Vane from his captaincy, Rackham cruised the Leeward Islands, Jamaica Channel and Windward Passage. He accepted a pardon sometime in 1719 and moved to New Providence where he met and married Anne Bonny. When Rackham returned to piracy in 1720, by stealing a British ship, Anne joined him. Their new crew included Mary Read, disguised as a man. After a short run he was captured by pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet in 1720, before being hanged in November of the same year in Spanish Town, Jamaica.