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Pirates of the Caribbean Character
Hector Barbossa.png
Name: Hector Barbossa
Job: Captain in the Royal Navy
Lord of the Caspian Sea
Pirate Captain
First mate (formerly)
Portrayed by: Geoffrey Rush
Ships used: Cobra
Black Pearl
Hai Peng
HMS Providence
Queen Anne's Revenge
Weapons: Several different swords
Sword of Triton
This here's a dark place. You'll need more than that cutlass if you're to get out of here with your skin.
— Captain Barbossa

Captain Hector Barbossa, usually shortened to Captain Barbossa or simply Barbossa, is a fictional character and one of the primary characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series played by actor Geoffrey Rush: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), a small cameo in Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007), On Stranger Tides (2011), and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017). He was the undead captain of the Black Pearl, and commanded its crew of similarly cursed pirates.

Due to the curse upon him, Barbossa transformed into a rotting skeleton in the moonlight, and could not be killed, nor could any other member of the Black Pearl crew ever take pleasure from women, drinking, or eating. It is said that Barbossa was so evil that hell itself spat him out. He has a pet monkey, named Jack, mockingly named after Captain Jack Sparrow.

His last name is both a pun on the Spanish/Portuguese surname "Barbosa" and is based on Aruj, the dreaded pirate also known as Redbeard. His first name is probably based on the two privateers, The Barbarossa brothers.

Fictional biography

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Barbossa is the captain on the pirate ship the Black Pearl, but he was originally the ship's first mate under Captain Jack Sparrow. Barbossa persuaded Captain Sparrow to reveal the bearings leading towards the Isla de Muerta to him and the crew. The island is the hiding place for the Chest of Cortés, containing Aztec gold. Sparrow divulged its location, but that night, Barbossa led a mutiny and commandeered the Black Pearl. Sparrow was marooned on a tiny island, with only a single-shot pistol with which to commit suicide. Jack escaped three days later and spends the next ten years seeking revenge.

Barbossa, captain of the Black Pearl.

Barbossa and the crew found the Aztec treasure. However, they unknowingly unleashed an ancient Aztec curse that transformed them into immortal skeletal beings, whose true forms are seen only in moonlight. To lift the curse, the crew must return all the Aztec gold to the chest on Isla de Muerta and offer their blood. The pirates also need the blood of their former shipmate, "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, the lone holdout against the mutiny. Believing the crew deserved to remain cursed for what they did to Jack, he sent away a piece of the treasure to his son, Will Turner. In retaliation, he was tied to a cannon and thrown overboard. For years, Barbossa has searched for the last coin. It has since come into the possession of Elizabeth Swann, the daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann. Barbossa sets sail for Port Royal when he detects a "signal" from the coin when it makes contact with the water in the sea. Unknown to him, Jack Sparrow is also in Port Royal.

Believing Elizabeth is Bootstrap's daughter (and thus, the way to breaking their curse), Barbossa makes off with her and the Aztec medallion. He reveals their cursed state to Elizabeth en route to Isla de Muerta. Upon arrival, Barbossa performs a ritual offering a small amount of Elizabeth's blood to break the curse. It does not work, and Elizabeth escapes with Will Turner and the medallion. Jack Sparrow is left behind in the cave, and he is taken prisoner aboard the Pearl. Barbossa and his crew pursue Elizabeth aboard the HMS Interceptor. Catching them, Barbossa maroons Jack and Elizabeth and imprisons the rest of the crew, including Will, and prepare for the ritual again. This time, Barbossa will offer Will's blood. Sparrow makes another unexpected return and strikes a bargain with Barbossa with the intent of betraying him.

While the pirates of the Black Pearl battle the HMS Dauntless' crew at Isla de Muerta, Jack duels Barbossa. Jack secretly took an Aztec coin while bargaining with Barbossa beforehand, and now both are immortal and neither can claim victory. Cutting his palm while Barbossa is recovering from a hit, Jack throws the bloodied medallion to Will. Jack then shoots Barbossa with the same pistol Barbossa marooned him with ten years before. Barbossa corrects Jack mockingly for wasting his only shot (since when a Pirate's marooned he only gets one pistol and shot) but Will drops the two final coins and blood into the chest, lifting the curse. As Barbossa looks at the blood pouring from his wound, he says he feels cold. It is the first sensation he's experienced since the curse was put upon him. After he falls dead, a close-up shows an eerily content expression on his face. A green apple rolls from his hand, a symbol of his lost life - and what he never again tasted.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Hector Barbossa, alive and well again.

Although Barbossa does not appear until the final scene of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, he can be seen lying on a bed in the next room when Jack and the crew first visit Tia Dalma and offer Jack the monkey as payment. However, it's still unclear that this is Barbossa, because only his boots are visible. It can be assumed it is him because, once released from the cage, the monkey scurries over to him. Other clues foreshadow his return: Jack picks up a hat that belonged to Barbossa, and he steals a ring from Tia Dalma that is like the one Barbossa wore in the first film.

In the final scene, Will, Elizabeth and the crew return to Tia Dalma's shack, mourning the loss of Jack Sparrow. Tia tells them that Jack can be returned from the World's End, but they will need a captain who knows those waters. A shadowy figure descends the staircase; it is Barbossa restored to life. He asks, "So tell me, what's become of my ship?", takes a bite of an apple and starts laughing.

Theories of Barbossa's return have been numerous, one of which consists of Barbossa's body having been sunk to the bottom of the ocean along with the Isla de Muerta and ended up in Davy Jones' Locker, from where he was apparently rescued, explaining his knowledge of the waters of World's End.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Barbossa and Elizabeth Swann in Singapore.

Apparently returned from the dead with help from Tia Dalma, Captain Barbossa now aids Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann in rescuing the man he betrayed and was later murdered by, Captain Jack Sparrow.

In Singapore, their attempts to steal a magic chart go haywire, but they make a deal with Sao Feng, a Chinese pirate lord. Sailing one of Feng's ships, he leads them to the World's End - and they cross over to the land of the dead.

There, they find Sparrow and the Pearl.

Barbossa with Tia Dalma aboard the Black Pearl.

Returning to the real world, Barbossa and Sparrow head to Shipwreck Cove, home of the Brethren Court. Gathering the pirates there, it is his plan to release Calypso, the Sea Goddess imprisoned in her human form as Tia Dalma herself by the First Brethren Court, and use her to stop Davy Jones and the EITC.

In the massive final battle between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman, Barbossa gleefully helms his old ship as they duel in a gigantic maelstrom.

Hector also performs the strangest wedding at sea, marrying Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann right in the midst of the battle.

Returning to Tortuga, Barbossa deftly steals the Black Pearl from his old captain again - only Sparrow has stolen the magical chart as both men make heading for their next adventure.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Hector Barbossa as a privateer at the King's court.

Barbossa reveals that after taking the Pearl, Barbossa ran afoul of Blackbeard off the coast of Hispaniola. The rigging had come to life, and Barbossa was forced to cut off his own leg to escape.

After this battle, Barbossa started to work as a privateer for King George II. Eventually, he was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. In 1750, Barbossa was sent to find the Fountain of Youth. However, Barbossa had a different motive. He was going to find Blackbeard, and make him pay for the loss of the Black Pearl and his "grimy, hairy leg"!

During the battle for the Fountain of Youth, Blackbeard was killed by Barbossa's poisonous sword, allowing Barbossa to claim Blackbeard's ship and the Sword of Triton for his own. Barbossa was back to his normal pirate look and was offered a hat by one of the crew members. To make way for Tortuga, Barbossa used the Sword of Trition to get the Queen Anne's Revenge going.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Hector Barbossa and one of the crew members waiting for the Silent Mary to approach their ship.

Now a rich rogue, Hector Barbossa continued to serve as captain of the Queen Anne's Revenge and maintain a pirate fleet. However, Murtogg and Mullroy informed Barbossa that many ships had been attacked by the Silent Mary lead by the deadly ghost sailor, Captain Salazar. Barbossa visited a sea witch named Shansa to learn more about the situation, in which he discovered that Salazar was looking for Jack Sparrow. To save his own skin, he speaks with Salazar about a deal to find Jack. Barbossa and his crew were then forced to travel with the cursed men aboard the Silent Mary to search for Jack.

Despite agreeing to help Salazar on his task for revenge, however, Barbossa and his crew instead joined forces with Jack, along with two other adventurers, Henry Turner and Carina Smyth, to search for the Trident of Poseidon in order to defeat Salazar. But first, Barbossa needed to use the Sword of Triton to restore the Black Pearl to its former glory. Once the Black Pearl set sailed, Barbossa offered the command of the ship to Carina due to her knowledge of where the Map No Man Can Read can be found. Barbossa also discovered that Carina was in possession of a diary he had thought was stolen from an Italian ship many years ago, along with there being a ruby on the cover. When Barbossa used Jack’s compass, it pointed directly towards Carina, revealing that she is what he desired most.

Hector Barbossa greets Jack Sparrow.

After the Black Pearl witnessed a fierce battle with the Silent Mary, Jack, Barbossa, and Carina managed to find the Trident of Poseidon from an underwater entrance located on an island known as Isle of Stars. With the Trident destroyed, all curses had been broken. Jack, Henry, and Carina needed to head back to the Black Pearl with the help of the crew throwing an anchor down to the water from above, with Barbossa standing on top of the anchor. When Barbossa noticed that Carina fell while climbing on the anchor and that Salazar was right behind her, he had to make a sacrifice to save his only daughter. By stabbing Salazar with a sword, Barbossa fell to the open sea while he and Carina exchanged a brief look in the eyes. The crew offered their final farewell to Barbossa as they witnessed the unfortunate scenario.


Little is known about Barbossa before he joins the Black Pearl. His name indicates a possible Portuguese and/or Spanish ancestry though he speaks with a West Country accent. In the "Becoming Barbossa" featurette on the "Lost Disc," Rush states that Barbossa´s family was very poor, and he ran away from home when he was 13. He went to the sea, saw how well the captains and officers lived and decided to become a captain himself. At first, he wanted to be an honest seamen, but later he recognized that it would be easier for him to make a career if he broke laws, and so he became a pirate.

Barbossa has a fondness for apples which appear throughout the film. He offers one to Elizabeth and later tells her that when the curse is lifted he wants to eat a whole bushel of them. There are also apples on the table in his cabin, and when he dies at the end, an apple rolls from his hand as he had brought it along to eat when the curse was about to be lifted. His cameo appearance in Dead Man's Chest also shows him with his favorite fruit. This representation of the apple could have a number of symbolic meanings: the deadly fruit that Eve partook from a snake, or the devil's apple (referenced in a comment in the film, "A man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out"). Or perhaps from Disney itself with the infamous apple from their cartoon classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in which the Queen attempted to kill Snow White with a poisoned apple. Indeed, when Elizabeth is offered an apple, she mistakenly believes it's poisoned. Most obviously it is a Vanitas style reference, particularly apt for a character incapable of dying. Apart from symbolism, it may be that one of Barbossa's greatest pleasures is apples and years of being unable to feel, smell, or taste has turned a pleasure into a constant craving.

According to the audio commentary from the first Pirates of the Caribbean DVD featuring the scriptwriters, Barbossa and Norrington are equally skilled with a sword. They tie as second-best, after Will Turner. (This was evidenced in the first film as the crew were hesitant to attack Barbossa, even all at once.) Geoffrey Rush comments that Barbossa supposedly used a sword from a very young age, possibly as early as 13.

It was revealed in the essential guide to "Pirates of the Caribbean" that Barbossa is very interested with his appearance, as his clothing shows. He has vanity rings on his fingers, and the feathers on his hat were revealed in the guide to be blue ostrich feathers, and his coat buttons were made from melted Incan silver. His pistol was also taken from a Spanish pirate, won in a duel which the Spanish pirate had lost. [1]

Game Notes


Captain Barbossa appears in Pirates Online, hiding out in his own private spot, Barbossa's Grotto on Devil's Anvil.

  • Barbossa teaches beginning pirates how to handle a pistol and asks them to practice by using Jack the monkey for a target.
  • An earlier version of the Barbossa Cutscene shows him showing the player how PvP works.
  • He also sends the pirate on a treasure hunt for Rhineworth Rings.
  • The player can earn an outfit like his by performing a special fortune quest, Adoria's Family.
  • It should be noted that there are several Voodoo Dolls that bear a close resemblance, if not completely, to Barbossa's appearance. Most of these dolls are also enchanted with Red Fury - fitting, considering the honor of being one of the nastiest pirates to ever sail the seas.

External links