What You Thought You Knew: Pirates were lawless sailors who buried treasure and used it on women, alcohol, and other pleasures.
What You Didn’t Know: Pirates get a bit of a bad rap, especially with the Pirates of the Caribbean series reinforcing some of the stereotypes about buried treasure and unpredictable alliances. Sure, the goal of a pirate is, after all, to pillage (steal things), usually from merchant ships, especially those carrying silk or spices that could be sold at a high price.
However, it’s not fair to assume that pirates didn’t look after each other; most (respected) pirate ships had a constitution that included workman’s comp for sailors who lost limbs in battle. In fact, the treatise was usually very detailed, and the most frequent money allotments went like this:
Loss of a right arm: 600 pieces
Left arm: 500
Right leg: 500
Left leg: 400
Some ships even paid for the replacement of a wooden peg leg, since good ones were more expensive (but worth it). Captains and crew were especially likely to help in the purchase of a new one if the old one was lost in defense of the ship (for example, during an enemy boarding attempt that was thwarted).
Now You Know: that workman’s comp dates back even to pirates.