The term Jolly Roger goes back to at least Charles
Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates, published in
Britain nearly 300 years ago.
Johnson specifically cites two pirates as having named
their flag "Jolly Roger": Bartholomew Roberts in June,
1721 and Francis Spriggs in December 1723. While Spriggs
and Roberts used the same name for their flags, their
flag designs were quite different, suggesting that
already "Jolly Roger" was a generic term for black
pirate flags rather than a name for any single specific
Richard Hawkins, who was captured by pirates in 1724,
reported that the pirates had a black flag bearing the
figure of a skeleton stabbing a heart with a spear,
which they named "Jolly Roger".
During the Elizabethan era Roger was a slang term for
beggars and vagrants who "pretended scholarship. "Sea
beggars had been a popular name for Dutch privateers
since the 16th century.
Another theory states that Jolly Roger is an English
corruption of Ali Raja, supposedly a 17th-century Tamil
pirate. Yet another theory is that it was taken from a
nickname for the devil, Old Roger. The jolly appellation
may be derived from the apparent grin of a skull.
This Jolly Roger pirate ship model was constructed based
on numeral movie's photos supplied by a gentleman who
was a serious collector of pirate ships.
This large Jolly Roger model was
commissioned by an upscale restaurant in Quebec, Canada.
Work commenced in Nov. 2013 and completed in Nov. 2014.
Sorry about the trademark that lessens the aesthetic but
too many have used our ships' photos for their benefits.