Charlotte de Berry was born in 1636. She led an unconventional life, donning male attire at age 17, frequenting barrooms, drinking in silence and then discussing her adventures with her friends. In those barrooms she met Jack Mell, who would become her husband.
She and Jack joined the British Navy, Charlotte posing as Jack’s brother, Dick. There are many legends concerning Charlotte. It is said that while she fought bravely, the crew realized she was a woman. The captain, wanting her for his own, accused Jack of mutiny. Jack was flogged so severely that he died. Charlotte retaliated by stabbing the captain and leaving the ship.
She then led the life of an entertainer in London where she caught the eye of a captain of a merchant ship who forced her to marry him. His crew hated him, and it was easy for Charlotte to persuade them to mutiny. She dispatched the captain by cutting off his head while he slept, took control of the ship, became known as Captain Rudolph and turned to piracy.
While her ship was in a Spanish port for repairs, she met and married Jose Sandano. Sandano joined her aboard ship, but not long afterward, they encountered a severe storm which sank the ship. The survivors clung to a raft for eight days without food and water. Eventually, they were reduced to cannibalism, drawing lots to determine who would be sacrificed. Sandano was the second to be killed. He was not eaten, however, as a ship came to their rescue.
Ironically, pirates soon attacked the ship that rescued them. Charlotte bravely fought off the pirates, but inconsolable at the loss of Sandano, she leaped overboard to her death.