Cover art for podcast Overheard at National Geographic

Overheard at National Geographic

154 EpisodesProduced by National GeographicWebsite

Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.


Queens of the High Seas

Yo-ho, a pirate’s life for she! Legends of Blackbeard and movie buccaneers like Captain Jack Sparrow give us the impression that piracy was a man’s world. But historians and the Nat Geo book Pirate Queens: Dauntless Women Who Dared to Rule the High Seas are righting the ship. Join the fleet of Zheng Yi Sao, a woman from southern China who at her peak commanded some 70,000 pirates during the early 19th century.

For more information on this episode, visit

Want more?

Check out Pirate Queens: Dauntless Women Who Dared to Rule the High Seas, the new book from National Geographic Kids. 

Subscribers can follow the trail of pirate queen Grace O’Malley—also known as “Bald Grace”—who became a living legend in 16th-century Ireland.

An animated video breaks down the life of Zheng Yi Sao, perhaps the most successful pirate of all time.

Also explore:

There are plenty of pirate myths, but National Geographic has the true stories of discovering Blackbeard’s ship, the reason pirates practiced democracy, and what science has to say about the food pirates ate (hint: it was usually terrible).     

Go deeper with the books Pirates of the South China Coast, 1790-1810 by Dian Murray and The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire by Ronald Po.

If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to to subscribe today.

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