| "We are an unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things."|
The title of this article is conjectural.
- "Not a lot's known about Jack Sparrow before he showed up in Tortuga with a mind to go after the treasure of the Isla de Muerta. That was before I'd met him. Back when he was captain of the Black Pearl."
"What? He failed to mention that."
"He plays things closer to the vest now. And a hard-learned lesson it was."
- ―Joshamee Gibbs and Will Turner
A mutiny occurred on board the infamous pirate ship Black Pearl while the crew was searching for the treasure of Cortés. Three days into the voyage, the first mate of the Pearl, Hector Barbossa, tricked Captain Jack Sparrow into giving up the bearings to Isla de Muerta. That night, mutineers led by Barbossa overtook the Black Pearl and marooned their former captain to die on a deserted island. After finding the treasure, the crew of the Black Pearl fell under the Aztec curse, which could be lifted by returning all the Aztec Gold pieces. However, Bootstrap Bill Turner felt guilty from Barbossa's mutiny against Jack Sparrow because it wasn't right with the Pirate's Code, and sent a piece of the treasure to his only child, asserting that the crew deserved to remain cursed.
Ten years later, Jack Sparrow retrieved the Pearl after the curse was lifted. The Pearl would be lost or found, or lost again on several occasions, whether it was by mutiny or that the ship itself was taken.
The cursed Treasure of Cortés
Over the years, legends of Hernán Cortés' conquests spread across the Seven Seas. One particular legend told of 882 identical pieces of Aztec Gold delivered in a stone chest to the conquistador as "blood money paid to stem the slaughter he wreaked upon them with his armies," though it merely fueled Cortés' greed. These actions so angered the heathen gods that they placed a curse upon the gold: any mortal who removed a piece of the gold from the chest would be punished for eternity. Ultimately, the treasure of Cortés would end up in the caves of the mysterious Isla de Muerta, an island of the dead that cannot be found except by those who knew where it was.
Two years after his deal with the legendary Davy Jones, the infamous pirate Jack Sparrow showed up in Tortuga, at which time he was captain of the Black Pearl and was going after the treasure of Isla de Muerta with the help of his unique compass. While in Tortuga, Jack would recruit a crew, which would have also included his first mate, Hector Barbossa, and Bootstrap Bill Turner. Jack also knew about the curse, though he didn't believe in it. Despite this, he told the stories to Barbossa and the other crewmen, but they didn't believe in the curse either, with Barbossa himself having said, "Ridiculous superstition!"
- "See, three days out on the venture, the first mate comes to him and says everything's an equal share. That should mean the location of the treasure, too. So, Jack gives up the bearings. That night, there was a mutiny. They marooned Jack on an island and left him to die, but not before he'd gone mad with the heat."
- ―Joshamee Gibbs concerning Jack Sparrow
Having gotten the crew in Tortuga, including Barbossa's cronies, the Black Pearl goes sailing out. Three days out into the voyage, Barbossa said to Jack that if the crew were all to going to have a share of the treasure, they should all know where they're going. Then Jack made his mistake and told Barbossa where Isla de Muerta was, making Barbossa someone who could find it because he already knew where it was. That night, Barbossa led a mutiny against Jack with the support of every crewman, while Barbossa himself assumed command as the new captain of the Black Pearl. Jack was thrown overboard with his compass. Barbossa would have given Jack a pistol with a single shot before marooning his former captain on Black Sam's Spit, a small island that was nothing more than a strip of beach and a few palm trees, where he would be left to die.
Bootstrap Bill, while he probably didn't participate in the mutiny, there was a version of events where Bootstrap stood up for Jack, then doesn't participate in the mutiny, stepping aside but doesn't take action to stop it. Despite having a good relationship with Jack Sparrow, Bootstrap stayed with Barbossa's crew. The reason Jack was all right with that was because Bootstrap stuck by the Pirate's Code—unlike Barbossa, who Jack hates for having violated the Code.
Blood of the Aztec Curse
Escaping the island
- "Now Will, when a pirate's marooned, he's given a pistol with a single shot. One shot. Well, that won't do much good hunting, nor to be rescued. But after three weeks of a starvin' belly and thirst, that pistol starts to look real friendly. But Jack, he escaped the island, and he still has that one shot. Oh, but he won't use it, though, save for one man. His mutinous first mate."
- ―Joshamee Gibbs and Will Turner
From the moment he was marooned on a godforsaken desert island, Jack Sparrow was given a flintlock pistol with only a single shot, which was initially intended for him to kill himself. However, Jack would escape Black Sam's Spit three days later and kept the pistol for years to come. Jack cherished his pistol, but never pulled the trigger; he made it his goal to save his pistol's one shot until he could use it on his mutinous first mate whom he now hated for violating the Code and having stole his beloved Black Pearl: Hector Barbossa.
- "Of the two of us, I'm the only one who hasn't committed mutiny. Therefore, my word is the one we'll be trusting. Although, I suppose I should be thanking you because, in fact, if you hadn't betrayed me and left me to die, I would have an equal share in that curse, same as you. Funny old world , isn't it?"
- ―Jack Sparrow to Hector Barbossa
Although having believed that the curse that former captain Jack Sparrow spoke of was a mere ghost story, Captain Barbossa's crew pressed on towards Isla de Muerta using Sparrow's bearings. Locating the island of the dead, the crew of the Black Pearl found the treasure and took all 882 pieces of Aztec gold from the stone chest. At some point prior to finding the island, Barbossa would get a pet monkey that he would name "Jack", after his old captain, who also took at least one piece of the treasure. Then as they go out spending and trading every bit on food, drink and pleasurable company, eventually ridding themselves of all gold pieces, the crew discovered that they were cursed. They suffered a living death, in which no amount of food, drink or pleasurable company would satisfy. When they step into the moonlight, the grim effects of the curse were plain to see: the crew's flesh vanished from their bones, and become walking skeletons. Therefore, each member of the crew was doomed to reside as members of the undead because of their greed. After figuring out that it was the Aztec gold pieces that placed the curse upon them, Barbossa's crew soon learned, possibly through reading the Aztec writing on the stone chest, that the only way to undo the curse was by returning all the gold back into the chest.
Losing Bootstrap Bill
- "Never sat well with Bootstrap, what we did to Jack Sparrow. The mutiny and all. He said it wasn't right with the Code. That's why he sent off a piece of the treasure to you, as it were. He said we deserved to be cursed...and remain cursed."
- ―Pintel, Ragetti and Joshamee Gibbs
Their goal set, the now-cursed crew of the Black Pearl aimed to reclaim all the Aztec gold and lift their curse. However, Bootstrap Bill had been feeling guilty because of what they did to Jack Sparrow, as it was in violation of the Code, so far as to say that the crew deserved to be cursed for what they did and to remain cursed. That was when Bootstrap sent one piece of the gold to his child in England, because he never wanted Barbossa's crew to be able to lift the curse. Provoked by his treachery, Barbossa strapped a cannon to "Bootstrap's bootstraps" and threw Bill overboard into "the crushing depths of Davy Jones' Locker," eternally drowning but unable to die because of the Aztec curse. It wasn't until later did the crew find out another requirement to lift the curse: all the blood had to be returned, which now seemed impossible with Bootstrap lost to them. However, a chance of salvation lied in Bootstrap's child, who had both his coin and Turner blood in his veins.
Later, the Black Pearl destroyed the merchant vessel that Bootstrap's child was on because the medallion touching the water brought the pirates. The HMS Dauntless, the power of Caribbean waters, appeared toward the wreckage, though Lieutenant James Norrington thought it was the powder magazine rather than a pirate attack. The Black Pearl left without getting Will and the coin, whether it was because the ship was simply lost in the "unnatural fog"; Elizabeth Swann's singing, which could have drove them away or called them down; or because the Dauntless was there, as the 100-gun ship would turn the Pearl into kindling. By this time, the Pearl's masts flew tattered sails. For the next eight years, the cursed pirates continued looking for all the gold.
Regaining the Pearl
Ten years after the mutiny on the Black Pearl, Barbossa's crew had collected all the pieces of Aztec Gold, save for the one piece Bootstrap sent to his child. On the day of James Norrington's promotion ceremony at Fort Charles, the medallion would be worn by Elizabeth Swann when she fell into Port Royal harbor. The gold called to the cursed pirates. Knowing it was the last piece they needed to lift the curse, they came after it while attacking the town that night. After believing Elizabeth had Turner blood, the last blood they needed to lift the curse, Barbossa kept Elizabeth captive aboard the Black Pearl. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's childhood friend, Will Turner, joined forces with Jack Sparrow, who was arrested after attempting to "commandeer" a ship and threatened Elizabeth. To save Elizabeth, they sailed the Interceptor, in a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl.
By the end of their quest, Jack killed Barbossa during an epic battle, but soon found that his motley crew took the Black Pearl and left without him. "I'm sorry, Jack," Elizabeth said. For a moment, Jack said nothing, only his eyes betraying his sadness. Then he spoke, "They did what's right by them. Can't expect more than that." Captain Jack Sparrow found himself in an all-too-familiar position. He was, once again, a captain without a ship. Knowing his crew followed the Pirate's Code, Jack ended up sharing a ride to the Dauntless, which made sail for Port Royal.
However, after Jack fell from Fort Charles and plummeted into the water below, his eyes landed on a familiar sight as he saw the Black Pearl, with her black sails no longer tattered and her sides gleamed in the bright sun. With a smile, Jack swam close enough to the Pearl where he got heaved on board, where he was greeted by Joshamee Gibbs and other members of his crew. When asked about keeping to the Code, Gibbs said they figured the Code were more "guidelines" before helping Jack to his feet. Cotton, the mute pirate, gave Jack his tricornered hat before Anamaria stepped aside from the helm and gave "Captain Sparrow" command of the Black Pearl. Jack then ran a hand lovingly along the ship's wheel, feeling good and right in his hands, and smiled. He enjoyed it, until noticing his crew watching him, and then shifted to 'Captain' mode. Giving orders to his crew, Captain Jack Sparrow stood at the wheel of the Black Pearl. As he looked out to sea and felt the Pearl's wood beneath his fingers, Jack said, "Now...Bring me that horizon." Jack then began to hum a pirate song Elizabeth taught him before, and in his hand he held his compass. He realized what he's doing and smiles. Setting a new course, Captain Jack Sparrow sailed his ship across the Caribbean, preparing to sail for new adventures on the high seas.
War Against Piracy
For the next year, the Black Pearl had set out for many adventures on the high seas, eventually leading to the search for the fabled Dead Man's Chest. Among others, Jack Sparrow wanted to find the chest to settle his debt with the legendary Davy Jones, the captain of the ghostly Flying Dutchman, as his thirteen years of being captain of the Black Pearl were over by this point. Lord Cutler Beckett also sought to retrieve the chest, intending to use it for his plan to destroy every last pirate once and for all. Ultimately, Jones' leviathan, the Kraken, dragged the Black Pearl to the depths, along with her captain. With the help of Hector Barbossa, resurrected by Tia Dalma, Jack's crew was able to sail to World's End and rescued Jack from Davy Jones' Locker along with the Black Pearl.
During the Black Pearl's previous encounter with the Flying Dutchman, Will Turner discovered that the Pearl was the only ship that could outrun the Dutchman. Prior to saving Jack Sparrow, while retrieving navigational charts in Singapore, Will secretly made a deal with Sao Feng. Once the Black Pearl was able to escape Davy Jones' Locker, the ship was overtook off of Black Sand Beach by the appearance of Sao Feng's flagship, the Empress. Will Turner led a mutiny against Jack and Barbossa's crew, revealing that only reason he came on this voyage was that he needed the Pearl to free his father. However, after Jack was taken aboard the Endeavour, Will was betrayed by Sao Feng for another bargain with Lord Beckett for the Pearl, though Feng himself was double-crossed by Beckett. Because of this, Feng bargains with Barbossa to release the Black Pearl in exchange for Elizabeth Swann, who he mistakenly believed was the sea goddess, Calypso. Having made an accord, the crews of the Black Pearl and the Endeavour fought against each other, allowing Jack to escape aboard the Pearl. Upon the escape, Beckett ordered Lieutenant Theodore Groves to signal the Dutchman to track down Sao Feng, while the Endeavour was to follow the Pearl. However, as the Endeavour was damaged by Jack's escape, the pursuit was delayed.
For Will Turner's mutiny on the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow ordered Turner to be sent to the brig, though he soon escaped. Jack caught Will leaving a breadcrumb trail for Beckett and, after discussing a way to stab the heart of Davy Jones to benefit both of them, Jack had Will thrown overboard as the Pearl sailed on. Prior to this, Jack gave Will his compass so he could lead Beckett to Shipwreck Cove, the meeting place of the Brethren Court. By the end of the fourth meeting, Elizabeth Swann, who was Sao Feng's successor as Pirate Lord, became the Pirate King. After parleying with Beckett, Elizabeth decided to use the Black Pearl as a flagship to lead the attack. Battling with the Flying Dutchman and the Endeavour, the Black Pearl emerged victoriously.
While in the docks of Tortuga, Jack Sparrow discovered that Barbossa has stolen the Black Pearl under circumstances that could only be described as mutiny, and left a small vessel in its place. This time, Barbossa marooned Jack and Joshamee Gibbs. 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.
The Pearl's fate
- "And all of this pales to utter insignificance in light of the fact that my ship is once again gone. Savvy?"
- ―Jack Sparrow
While sailing off the coast of Hispaniola one night, the Black 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. Unbeknownst to Barbossa, who believed that the ship was sunk, Jack Sparrow discovered that Blackbeard magicked the Black Pearl into a shrunken ship in a glass bottle, where it would sail on a shrunken, churning ocean. By the end of the quest for the Fountain of Youth, Barbossa had his revenge on Blackbeard, while Gibbs retrieved the Pearl for Jack.
- In the first screenplay draft of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Joshamee Gibbs said that it was 40 days out into the voyage before Barbossa came to Jack Sparrow about the treasure's location.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (junior novelization)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (junior novelization)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Curse of the Black Pearl Audio Commentary with Screenwriters Stuart Beattie, Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Jay Wolpert
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, p.36-37: "Curse of the Aztec Gold"
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- ↑ Wordplay: Pirates of the Caribbean first draft screenplay