Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)
Jeanne de Belleville
Pirates are made in different ways, but the path to piracy of Jeanne de Belleville (1300-1356) was a classic tale of revenge-driven fury. Born a noblewoman and coming into power at the dawn of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, Jeanne and her wealthy Breton husband, Olivier de Clisson IV, had five children at their home in western France. When the war came, Clisson was accused of supporting the English (not an unfounded accusation, since he easily surrendered the town of Nantes), and King Philip VI of France had him beheaded in public, shaming the family. Enraged, Jeanne turned on the French monarchy. She took her two sons, sold all of her land, and bought three warships that she painted black and outfitted with red sails, forming her Black Fleet. She built up a loyal force; with them, she attacked the French military by land and then by sea in the English Channel. Jeanne was known for personally decapitating any French nobility they captured at sea. The legend goes that for thirteen years she sailed the seas on the wind of revenge, her red sails bringing fear to the hearts of any Frenchman.