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Capture of the Black Pearl

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Shipwreck art "We are an unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things."

The title of this article is conjectural.
Although this article is based on canonical information, the actual name of this subject is pure conjecture. Please see the reasons for this title in the "Behind the scenes" section below, and/or the relevant discussion on the talk page.

Fight on Isla de Muerta 17
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Battle of Calypso's maelstrom


Escape in London

Capture of the Black Pearl

Quest for the Fountain of Youth




Off the coast of Hispaniola


Victory for Blackbeard. Defeat of the crew of the Black Pearl. Hector Barbossa losing both the Black Pearl and his right leg to Blackbeard.

Affiliations involved:

Crew of the Black Pearl

"You weren't there that night."
"When the
Pearl was lost?"
Taken, not lost."
Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow[src]

Prior to the quest for the Fountain of Youth, Hector Barbossa was captain of the Black Pearl. While sailing off the coast of Hispaniola one night, the Pearl came under attack from the Queen Anne's Revenge, captained by the notorious pirate Blackbeard. As the onslaught continued, Blackbeard used the legendary Sword of Triton to control the Pearl, turning the ship against Barbossa's crew. The attack ended with Barbossa having lost the Black Pearl and his right leg.


"And all of this pales to utter insignificance in light of the fact that my ship is once again gone. Savvy?"
Jack Sparrow[src]

After the East India Trading Company was defeated, the pirates were free to continue their freedom-loving ways. While in the docks of Tortuga, Jack Sparrow discovered that Hector Barbossa has made off with the Black Pearl, marooning Jack and Joshamee Gibbs, and left a small vessel in its place. Meanwhile, as the Black Pearl sails through the seas, Barbossa presented to his crewmen their next quest: to find the Fountain of Youth. However, after opening the charts, he discovered that Jack Sparrow has removed the map to the Fountain from the charts. And so Barbossa's quest to the Fountain was postponed as Jack himself sailed to find the Fountain.


Blackbeard's Attack

"We were off the coast of Hispaniola when we came under attack. No provocation nor warning nor offer of parley. We were peppered with cannon fire. And then the sea beneath the Pearl began to roil. The Pearl was pitching and yawing violently. Every plank, every rail, every spar all at once began to creak. The rigging had come to life! Our own ship turned against us. Tangling the crew, wrapping around them like snakes...and wrapping around my leg. But me arms were free and my sword was at hand. I am the master of my ship, not Blackbeard. I am the master of my fate, not Blackbeard! So I did what needed done...I survived."
Hector Barbossa to Jack Sparrow[src]

With the map to the Fountain of Youth stolen, Barbossa and his crew resumed their pirate ways. One night, as the Black Pearl was sailing in off the coast of Hispaniola, Barbossa's crew was suddenly attacked without warning by the Queen Anne's Revenge, the infamous vessel captained by the notorious pirate Blackbeard. The Pearl was peppered by cannonfire from the Revenge. Then the sea beneath the Pearl began to roil as the Pearl itself was pitching and yawing violently to where the ship itself couldn't be maneuvered leaving the Pearl's crew with no chance of escape. Witnessing all of this tempted Barbossa to give the order he never thought he'd give—"Abandon ship".

However, it was too late, as Blackbeard used his sword to turn the Black Pearl against Barbossa and his crew. Every plank, rail, and spar aboard the Pearl began to creak a hellish noise as the rigging came to life. Barbossa's men were tangled by the ropes, unable to fight as they were wrapped around like snakes. One of the ropes would have wrapped around Barbossa's right leg. Not wanting his fate changed or be mastered by anyone but himself, Barbossa used his sword to cut off his own leg. Barbossa was able to escape the brutal attack, but with the knowledge of having lost both the Black Pearl and his right leg to Blackbeard.

"What has become of my beloved Pearl?"
"I lost the
Pearl as I lost my leg!"
"Lost the
"Aye. I defended her mightily enough, but she be sunk nonetheless."
"If that ship be sunk properly, you should be sunk with it.
Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa[src]



"So...You're not after the Fountain."
"I care not for King George or tavern yarns that give hope for a healed limb. But I'd give my left arm for a chance at Blackbeard."
"Not your right?"
"I need me good arm to drive my poisoned blade through his heart.
Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa[src]

From that night on, Hector Barbossa abandoned his search for the Fountain of Youth; his goal now was to get his revenge on the man who took the Pearl and his leg: Blackbeard. But without a ship and crew, Barbossa needed help to achieve this plan. So Barbossa received a Royal Pardon and became a privateer in the employ of England, where he soon became a trusted advisor of King George II and was given command of the HMS Providence, the pride of the British Royal Navy. By the time of his new-found captaincy, Barbossa began to wear a wooden leg, which contained a hidden rum supply. At some point during this time, Barbossa would have started an investigation, with an obsessive passion, in which he gained information to help him in his pursuit of Blackbeard. It was through these investigations that Barbossa would learn at least the basics on Blackbeard, including his own obsession to find the Fountain of Youth as well as the importance of his sword.

By the end of the quest for the Fountain of Youth, Barbossa succeeded in his agenda and was finally able to get his revenge on Blackbeard. After a fight between the two at the Fountain, Barbossa managed to fatally wound the infamous pirate with his poisonous sword, expressing his victory by saying "For the Pearl." Having achieved his goal of revenge, Barbossa took Blackbeard's sword and claimed it along with his ship and crew as payment for his missing leg.

For the Pearl

"He keeps each ship as a prize. You help me, and I promise you your pick. Though I think I know the one you will choose."
Black Pearl in a bottle? Why is the Black Pearl in a bottle?"
Angelica and Jack Sparrow[src]

Although having narrowly escaped Blackbeard's attack on the Black Pearl, Barbossa had no knowledge of the fate of his ship, having only believed that it was sunk in battle. Though in reality, Blackbeard magicked the Pearl into a shrunken ship in a glass bottle, where it would sail on a shrunken, churning ocean. Cotton's Parrot and Jack the Monkey could be seen inside of the bottle. The Pearl in a bottle would be placed in a cabinet, filled with Blackbeard's collection of other shrunken ships in bottles, which was found in the captain's cabin aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge.

When he was taken into St. James's Palace in London, Jack Sparrow would have reunited with the now-privateer Hector Barbossa, who told Jack that he lost the Pearl and that his beloved vessel was sunk in battle. Days after being shanghaied aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, Jack was shown the cabinet where the ships in bottles were placed, by Angelica, who wanted Jack to help her find the Fountain of Youth. Although Jack found out the current state of the Pearl, he didn't bother confronting Barbossa, who still believed the Pearl was sunk, even as the privateer told him of that fateful night.

Throughout the quest for the Fountain of Youth, the Pearl remained with the other ships in bottles aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, which soon made anchor on the cove of a mysterious island. By the end of the quest, Jack Sparrow's loyal first mate and comrade Joshamee Gibbs found the Revenge with the help of Jack's compass, given to him by Jack himself, and snuck aboard to retrieve the Pearl for Jack. Once he found the shrunken Pearl in a bottle, Gibbs also summarily stole all of Blackbeard's collection of shrunken ships in bottles and put them in a sack, claiming that it was a shame to leave an entire fleet behind. After meeting up with Jack, who was reunited with his beloved Pearl, both pirates kept the bottles with them as their own.

Behind the scenes

"The Pearl was pitching and yawing violently. So violently we could not maneuver...could not man the violently it actually came to my mind to give...the order. THE order! THE order! The order no man who calls himself captain ever dreams he’ll be givin’! Abandon ship."
Hector Barbossa[src] (screenplay draft)
  • For Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, visual effects supervisor Ben Snow explained that, for the effect of shrunken ships in bottles (including the Black Pearl), ILM decided on a more dramatic approach to have the ships look like they're frozen in time at the moment of capture.[1] Because the shrunken Black Pearl is first seen sailing on captured stormy seas, it is possible that Blackbeard's attack happened during a storm. However, because the shrunken Pearl didn't sail on stormy seas in the last scene, and Barbossa didn't mention a storm, it is currently unknown.
  • Although On Stranger Tides never showed this, the film's script revealed that Hector Barbossa had thought to give the order to abandon ship during Blackbeard's attack on the Black Pearl. However, as it was not revealed if this happened or not, it is unknown if it is canon or not.


Notes and references

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