In centuries past, when the Jolly Roger was raised, it usually heralded terror, and very often death . Incidentally, the term « Jolly Roger » probably derives from the French words « Joli Rouge », a French term referring to the blood-red banners carried by the early privateers. However, long after the golden age of pirates, this symbol is popping up all around us without necessarily knowing the true meaning of these skulls. Then we have prepared a small summary for you so that you can better understand the symbolism of the skull and crossbones .
Together we will look at the TOP 10 most unique symbols of the famous skull and crossbones found on pirate flags . 🏴☠️
Discover our « »pirate flags« »
Symbol #10: Skull & Crossbones (Pirate Flag)
Edward England was a famous 18th-century Irish pirate . He sailed the coasts of Africa and the Indian Ocean from 1717 to 1720. Among the pirate ships he sailed on were the Pearl and later the Fancy, which was exchanged for the Pearl by England in 1720. It is known for its famous flag, which was the classic Jolly Roger : a skull and crossbones on a black background. By the way, if you want to know more about this flag, we invite you to explore the origins of the Jolly Roger. It is the most common form of the famous pirate flag and has appeared most frequently throughout history. So we felt compelled to include him in this ranking. 😅
Symbol No. 9: Poison hazard pictogram (skull logo)
The human skull and crossbones have traditionally been used to identify toxins ⚠️ found around the home. In the US, it was feared that this symbol would actually attract children due to its association with pirates, so a new symbol (named Mr. Yuk) was created. Now, Mr. Yuk is more common than the traditional poison symbol. Therefore, since non-Americans are unlikely to recognize Mr. Yuk, it was presented in place of the standard poison symbol we all know so well.
Symbol #8: Military Skull Badge (The Peacekeeper)
The LGM-118A Peacekeeper, also known as the MX missile (for Missile-eXperimental), was a land-launched missile 💥 deployed by the United States beginning in 1986. This missile was intended to be used in defense against Soviet nuclear missiles, which were superior to the missiles then in use by the United States. » The « uniform » worn by the army crews who looked after the missiles and bases included « the famous skull and crossbones » ☠️ with weapon fins instead of bones. According to the START II treaty, which never came into force, the missiles were to be removed from the US nuclear arsenal by 2005, with the LGM-30 Minuteman remaining as the only land-based missile type in the US arsenal. Despite the abolition of the START II treaty, the last Peacekeepers (but not their warheads) decommissioned on September 19, 2005.
Symbol Nr. 7: Rock & Skull (Iron Maiden)
The cover of the 2006 album « A Matter Of Life And Death » 🎵, designed by well-known comic book cover artist Tim Bradstreet, shows « a zombie head » with a helmet mounted above two crossed M16 machine guns . It has since been used on numerous band t-shirts and posters.
Symbol #6: Phi Kappa Sigma (the Skull Movement)
Phi Kappa Sigma is a worldwide, all-male » social » and « academic » « movement » founded in the United States in the late 19th century. Its members are known by the names « Phi Kaps », « Skull » and sometimes » Skullhouse » (literally: the « House of the Dead »). The last two names are due to the « skull and crossbones » 💀 depicted on the « badge » and coat of arms of this brotherhood. In the 1850s, Southern divisions adopted the custom of wearing silver skulls on their insignia, and hence became known as the » Silver Skulls « .
Symbol Nr. 5: One Piece-Flagge
In the popular anime and manga Shonen Jump, which has a rather friendly attitude toward pirates, the main character Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat crew wear a Jolly Roger . We agree he’s not quite as menacing, but it’s still a » classic » Jolly Roger with the character’s signature straw hat badge . 👒
Symbol N°4 : Skull and Bones
The Skull and Bones Brotherhood, a Yale University society, was originally known as the Brotherhood of Death . It is one of the oldest student secret societies in the United States. It was founded in 1832 and membership is open only to an elite. Society still uses rituals inspired by « Freemasonry » 👁 to this day. The members meet every Thursday and Sunday of the week in a building they call « Tomb ». ✝️ Don’t wait and join the elite by getting the « »Skull & Bones Ring » » .
Symbol #3: Skull and Crossbones Flag (Victory of the Submarines)
After submarines were introduced in various branches of the US Navy, British Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson, Controller of the Royal Navy, declared that these submarines were « sneaky, evil and anti-British ». He even added that he would persuade the British Army to abandon the entire « crew » of enemy submarines captured in wartime ( like the pirates). In September 1914, the British submarine HMS E9 managed to torpedo the German cruiser SMS Hela. In memory of Wilson’s statements, Commander Max Horton asked his sailors to fly a Jolly Roger flag to produce, 🏴☠️ which was panned by the submarine as it entered the port. Since then, this has been fairly common practice among British submarines. 🇬🇧
Icon #2: Prevention Logo (the « House » record)
This logo is well known to most people who have visited « The Pirate Bay ». « Home Taping is Killing Music » was the slogan of a campaign to eradicate copyright infringement ❌ led in the 1980s by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), a British music industry trading group. As cassette recorders became more popular, 📼 📼 the BPI feared that being able to record music from the radio onto cassette tapes would lead to a drop in record sales. The logo, which consisted of a Jolly Roger formed from a skull and crossbones cassette, also featured the words » And It’s Illega l ».
Symbol #1: SS Death’s Head Badge
The SS-Totenkopfverband (SS-TV), which means Death ‘s Head Units, was the SS organization responsible for administering Nazi concentration camps for the Third Reich. The SS-TV was an independent unit within the SS with its own ranks and command structure. She managed the camps all over Germany, 🇩🇪 like Dachau and Buchenwald.
Throughout Nazi-occupied Europe, she directed Auschwitz in Poland 🇵🇱 and Mauthausen in Austria, 🇦🇹 as well as numerous other concentration camps and extermination sites r . The main function of the death camps was genocide and included the Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor camps. They were tasked with facilitating the Final Solution , known ever since as the Holocaust , in cooperation with the Reich Security Main Office and the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office .