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Red flag

The Red flag

"Tell me more about this pirate attack. Why didn't you simply surrender and turn over your cargo? Why did you resist, and thus cause my ship to be badly damaged?"
"Mr. Beckett, the pirate that attacked us was flying a red flag, sir.
Cutler Beckett and Jack Sparrow[src]

The Red flag was the symbol used by the British Royal Navy and the pirates in the Caribbean.


"A red flag. And what, pray tell is the significance of that? Naval vessels do that to signify ‘no quarter’ don’t they?"
"Yes, Mr. Beckett. But there were—are—some pirates over on the Spanish Main that flew—fly—a red flag with a horned demon’s skull. We, that is, the merchant ships, sir, we call them rogues, sir. These ships have a nasty habit of taking a prize, then slaughtering everyone aboard.
Cutler Beckett and Jack Sparrow[src]

The red flag flown by naval vessels in wartime meant a fight to the finish. Among pirates, flying a red flag signaled "no quarter" to any ship’s crew that resisted, but guaranteed the safety of all aboard if the ship surrendered without a fight. Some pirates in the 18th century have flown red variations of the traditional pirate flag, the Jolly Roger.


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