Mary Read (born around 1685, died on 1721) is today remembered as one of two female pirates (the second one being Anne Bonny) that operated in the waters of the Caribbean during the height of the today called "Golden Age of the Pirates". She spent majority of her life dressed as a man and has served under several Pirate captains, most notably John "Calico Jack" Rackham.
Exact information about early life of Mary Read is not known today. It is speculated that she was born between 1680 1690 in England, as a daughter of the sea captain widow. In order to receive financial support from her father's family, Mary's mother begun dressing her as a boy after the death of her older brother. This ploy remained successful during her teenage years, when Marry (still masquerading as a boy) managed to find the job as a footboy and eventually on a ship. After spending several years on a sea, Mary decided to join British military during the Nine Years War or War of the Spanish Succession (records of her military life are not precise). During her life in the army she fell in love with Flemish soldier. After marrying him she left the military and started dressing as a woman for a first time in her life. She lived in The Netherlands with her husband who managed to buy for them inn named "The Three Horseshoes". Mary sadly had to return to military life after the early death of her husband. Seeing that England and Europe has nothing to offer her, she embarked on a journey to the West Indies.
After reaching waters of the Caribbean, her ship became taken by the pirates. Still dressed as a man, Mary was forced to join them. After a small time spent with them, she took the King's pardon c.1718-1719 and took the job of the privateer. She soon joined the mutiny, and went to the New Providence on Bahamas where she met pirate captain John "Calico Jack" Rackham and his companion Anne Bonny. After a while two women became good friends, and soon Marry revealed to Anne that she is indeed is not a man. Captain Rackham became very agitated at the close relationship of Anne and Marry, and soon even he learned of Mary's true past. Marry then became more open with the rest of the crew. She and Anne often wore the women clothes while traveling and male clothes during combat.
In October 1720, ship of Captain Rackham became suddenly under attack from the English military ship under the command of Jonathan Barnet. He attacked in the moment when every crewmember of the Rackham ship was heavily drunk after celebrating recent pillaging of the Spanish trade ship. Together with the rest of the crew, Mary and Anne were shipped to the Spanish Town, Jamaica where they all received death sentence by hanging. They both managed to receive temporary stay of execution when doctors concluded that they were both pregnant (Anne with the Rackham's child, and Mary with the child of one artisan from her ship). During her imprisonment in Jamaica it was recorded that Marry Read died from fever in April of 1721, and there was speculation that Anne Bonny managed to return to America where she lived until 1782.