|“||Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails; that's what a ship needs. But what a ship is...what the Black Pearl really is...is freedom.||”|
The Black Pearl, often simply referred to as the Pearl, is a fictional pirate ship that figures prominently in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The Black Pearl is easily recognized by its distinctive black hull and sails. This turns out to be an advantage in more than one way.
Not only do the black sails act as a sort of intimidation tactic, but the Pearl's crew can put out the deck lamps for added stealth at night.
The ship was originally named Wicked Wench before it was ordered burned and sunk by Lord Cutler Beckett. It was later raised from the sea floor by Davy Jones after making a pact with Jack Sparrow who rechristened it The Black Pearl. It is said to be, "nigh uncatchable". Indeed, in the two films she either overtakes or flees all other ships, including the Interceptor (regarded as the fastest ship in the Caribbean) and the Flying Dutchman (which is actually faster against the wind).
Her speed is derived from her large sails and in addition to oars called "sweeps."
Originally christened the East Indiaman trader ship Wicked Wench, this vessel was commanded by a brash young Jack Sparrow under employment of the East India Trading Company. Cutler Beckett ordered Jack to pick up precious "cargo" in Africa and deliver it to the West Indies/Caribbean. When Jack discovers the cargo is slaves, he defied orders and frees them in Africa.
As revenge, Beckett orders the "Wench" burned and sunk and Jack branded as a pirate. After Jack escapes prison, he vows to get the Wench back and nearly drowns attempting to pull her up from the ocean floor. He is saved by Davy Jones, and they strike their bargain (13 years as captain of the Pearl then Davy could have his soul). Jones raises the Wench from the depths, and Jack rechristens her Black Pearl.
The resurrected Black Pearl was captained by Jack Sparrow for two years. The crew was heading to the mysterious Isla de Muerta where the legendary Chest of Cortez was hidden. Captain and crew agreed to equal shares of the treasure, but First Mate Hector Barbossa persuaded Jack that equal shares included knowing the treasure's location. Jack complied, and soon after Barbossa led a mutiny. He marooned Jack on Rumrunner's Isle.
The crew found the Aztec gold, which they quickly frittered away on food, drink and prostitutes. However, unaware the treasure was cursed, anyone who stole the coins turned into undead beings, unable to feel pleasure but suffering pain. Moonlight revealed the cursed pirate's true form—hideous skeletons with tattered flesh clinging to bones. Even the Pearl was affected as the ship became constantly shrouded in an eerie mist, although the ship itself was not cursed, this was merely the effect of the curse upon the ship's crew. After the curse is lifted, the mist disappeared and it is not seen neither at the end of The Curse of the Black Pearl nor in Dead Man's Chest.
The curse could only be lifted when every coin was returned to the chest along with a trace of blood from each pirate who stole one. "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, the only crew member who defended Jack during the mutiny, sent a coin to his young son Will Turner, believing the crew deserved to remain cursed. Barbossa had Bootstrap tied to a cannon and thrown overboard in retaliation. Only later did they learn they also needed his blood to break the curse and had, in fact, doomed themselves to continued damnation. Over the next decade the Pearl menaced the Caribbean as the pirates searched for the coins until all but one was found. As a boy, Will Turner brought the gold medallion with him on his journey to the Caribbean, although Elizabeth Swann, the governor's daughter, came into possession of it and kept it hidden. The Pearl later attacked Port Royal and abducted Elizabeth, believing she was Bootstrap's child, and therefore the only source of Turner blood.
The Pearl was eventually commandeered by Jack Sparrow and Will Turner. While the pirates were fighting the Royal Navy at Isla de Muerta, Jack's new crew makes off with the Pearl, leaving Jack behind. However, they later rescued him when he escaped execution in Port Royal.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest reveals some of the back story of Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl, including when Jack made a pact with Davy Jones, the captain of the Flying Dutchman, to raise her from the deep as Jack's own ship. In return, Jack would relinquish his soul to Jones after thirteen years, although following the mutiny, Barbossa held command for the majority of that time. Jack continuing to refer to himself as 'Captain Jack Sparrow' was sufficient reason for Davy Jones to collect the debt. Much of the plot revolves around Jack's attempt to escape his obligation. According to Leech, one of the newer crewmen aboard, " You wouldn't need everyone. About six would do.". This eventually leads to his death in a race to claim the Pearl on Pelegosto.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Captain Jack is on the brink of madness from the affects of being in Davy Jones' locker and all alone. But, help comes from Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and Hector Barbossa and a crew of Chinese pirates - sent on a ship from Sao Feng and using his magical charts to find the other side.Their own ship lost, they all board the Pearl and get her sea-going not sure where or how they will escape, but wily Jack figures it out. At the precise moment of sundown, Jack leads the crew in capsizing their own vessel! As the Pearl flips over in the water - she emerges back into the regular world. They make sail to Shipwreck Cove for the critical meeting of the Brethren Court to stave off the assault of the EITC and Davy Jones.The Pearl also led the pirate fleet in their last defense against the EITC's armada. Facing off in one-on-one combat, Hector Barbossa helmed as the vessel and the Flying Dutchman swirled in battle inside the giant maelstrom created by Calypso. After Davy Jones' death and Will Turner becomes the new captain of the Dutchman, both vessels obliterate the HMS Endeavour, Beckett's flagship.Returning to Tortuga victorious, Captain Jack arrived back the dock the next morning to find the Pearl missing! Hector Barbossa had commandeered her once again.
In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, shortly after while sailing off the coast of Hispaniola, the Black Pearl was attacked and captured by the Queen Anne's Revenge, a ship of the infamous pirate and Voodoo sorcerer Blackbeard. After the battle, the Pearl was shrunken and put in a bottle with Jack the Monkey. The fate of her crew is unknown. Barbossa escaped with his life, minus one leg.
The Black Pearl is heavily armed; she carries 32 6-pound cannons: 18 on the gun deck and 14 on the upper deck. It's full broadside is 16 cannonballs and weighs 96 lbs. (35,8 kg).
Strangely, the Pearl does not have any guns on the bow or on the stern which is very unusual for a pirate ship and gives her a grave tactical disadvantage during a chase; the Pearl isn’t able to shoot the ship she chases or to return her hunter’s fire,however her high speed helps negate this handicap partially.
In 'Dead Man's Chest' another advantage the Black Pearl has over her enemies is her ability to hide in the sea at night, if all the ship's lamps are blown out then the ship is no longer visible on the sea thanks to her black hull and sails. This is also seen in 'Curse of the Black Pearl' where she is able to sneak into Port Royal under the cover of darkness, unhindered. Also during that time, the Pearl was a cursed ship which allowed her to move with supernatural speed and silence.
The Wicked Wench was the original name of the pirate ship in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the Disney theme parks. The name was changed for the films and Disney even sought to change the name in the ride, but was denied the rights to do so.
Game NotesThe second story quest in Pirates of the Caribbean Online is to aid Jack Sparrow liberate the Pearl from the Royal Navy. The conclusion of this story quest is Black Pearl Boss Battle, in which the pirate and his crew must rescue the Pearl.She is being held in a small, secret dock and guarded by a company of very experienced officers and the Goliath, a massive Royal Navy Ship of the Line warship. All of the quests and deeds the pirate must achieve in this effort are all part of the The Black Pearl Crew Story Quest- including gathering all of Jack's old shipmates.
Future story quests featuring the Pearl are unknown - but video samples from piratesonline.com show the Pearl in battle against EITC and skeleton warships, so the adventure is likely far from over for this ship.
The Queen Anne's Revenge and The Black Pearl are the only legendary ships in the game.