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Hector Barbossa, formally captain of the Black Pearl, is a ferocious pirate of treacherous morality.

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"Too long my fate has not been in me own hands...No longer."

―Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann[src]

In his youth, Barbossa was an honest sailor who left to make an easier living as a pirate. Originally a captain of the schooner Cobra, Barbossa would join Jack Sparrow aboard the Black Pearl as first mate. After a while of sailing under Sparrow, Barbossa led a mutiny against Jack and marooned him before finding the treasure of Cortés in Isla de Muerta. In mysterious circumstances, Barbossa would become the Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea after he obtained the Piece of Eight of the previous Lord. Upon falling under the Aztec curse, Barbossa led his crew in search of all the scattered pieces of gold they frittered away, and blood to lift their terrible curse. Ten years later, the curse was lifted by Will Turner, the child of former crewman Bootstrap Bill, at which time Barbossa was killed by his old captain, Jack Sparrow.

Even death was not the end of Captain Barbossa, as he was later resurrected by Tia Dalma, secretly the sea goddess Calypso in human form, who demanded that Barbossa help free her from her human bonds in return for his resurrection. After helping rescue Jack Sparrow in Davy Jones' Locker, Barbossa had to join up with the Brethren Court to battle against Lord Cutler Beckett, who had control over Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman. At some point afterwards, Barbossa had lost his leg, and the Black Pearl, which forced him to serve as a privateer, claiming to owe his allegiance to King George II. Having been given command aboard the HMS Providence, Barbossa participated in the quest for the Fountain of Youth, where he would rendezvous with Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard and destiny.

Captain of the Black Pearl

"I don't know what you're playing at, but I know you can hear me, Jack."

"Oh, sorry. I presumed you must be addressing some other Jack, one who was not captain of the finest ship ever to sail the Seven Seas—since surely if you were addressing me, you would have said 'Captain Jack,' isn't that right?"

"My apologies, Captain Jack."

―Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow[src]

In unknown circumstances, Barbossa lost contact with Ragetti and his Piece of Eight. Five years after the escape of the rogues from Shipwreck Cove, while he was in Tortuga, Barbossa joined the crew of the Black Pearl, captained by Jack Sparrow. Barbossa was made Sparrow's first mate, and the crew set out from Tortuga to the Far East, sent by Tia Dalma to collect seven pieces of powerful magical potion called the Shadow Gold, and prevent an evil alchemist, the Shadow Lord from destroying the Pirate Brethren. Sparrow and Barbossa traveled around the world, chased by the East India Trading Company and the Shadow Army, but at the end, they were able to defeat the Shadow Lord with the assistance of all Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court.[19]

Mutiny on the Black Pearl

"Well, Jack! I'm afraid your career as a pirate has been a short one. I am the captain of the Black Pearl. No one challenges my authority."

―Hector Barbossa to Jack Sparrow[src]

Two years after adventure with the Shadow Gold, the Black Pearl sailed towards Isla de Muerta to find the lost treasure of Hernán Cortés. Although Barbossa didn't believe Jack Sparrow about the curse that was placed on the treasure, believing it as a "ridiculous superstition," he went on the search anyway. The Isla de Muerta was an island in the Caribbean that could not be found except by those who already knew where it was, but Captain Sparrow had a map as to the approximate location of the island. Three days into the voyage, Barbossa was able to coax the bearings from Jack. The then over-trusting Jack gave his bearings willingly to his "loyal" first mate, thinking that he could help in finding the island.[5]

"I hardly believe in ghost stories anymore, Captain Barbossa."

"Aye. That's exactly what I thought when we were first told the tale. Buried on an island of dead what cannot be found, except for those who know where it is. Find it, we did. There be the chest. Inside be the gold. And we took 'em all."

―Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann[src]

That same night Barbossa rallied the rest of the crew in a mutiny against Jack. They marooned him on an island, jokingly appointing him it's "governor", and gave him a pistol with one shot—to kill himself when the heat and thirst got too much. With the Pearl now under Barbossa's control, they then sailed towards Isla de Muerta. Prior to this however, Barbossa attained his precious pet monkey, mockingly named "Jack", after their old captain. Then, with Jack's bearings, the crew found the island and the treasure inside it's caves. Inside a large stone chest were 882 identical pieces of Aztec coins, once belonging to Hernán Cortés, given to him by the Aztec to stop the ambitious Spaniard from slaughtering their people. Cortés continued his conquest despite the tribute. According to legend, the heathen gods of the Aztec placed a curse on the treasure to avenge the fallen people. Supposedly, anyone who took a single piece from the chest would be cursed for eternity. The crew ignored the legends which Jack Sparrow has mentioned to them earlier, and seized the treasure for themselves. They returned to Tortuga and after a time, they traded the whole gold away on frivolous things.[5]

"Look! The moonlight shows us for what we really are. We are not among the living, and so we cannot die. But neither are we dead. For too long I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I've been starving to death and haven't died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face, nor the spray of the sea...nor the warmth of a woman's flesh. You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!"

―Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann.[src]

Very soon they realized that the legends were true, and they lost the ability to taste, digest, or feel in general. Perhaps worst of all, at night, beneath the moon, they were revealed for what they were: undead skeletons; neither living nor dead, and unable to die or succumb to bodily harm. Nevertheless, the crew set about immediately to find the lost treasure.[5]

There was only one crewman who had been bitter and guilt-ridden ever since the marooning of Jack Sparrow: Bootstrap Bill Turner who sent a piece of the treasure to his child, telling the others that they deserved to be cursed. This angered Barbossa greatly, so he ordered his men to strap "Bootstrap's bootstraps" to a cannon. He then ordered them to push the cannon overboard, taking "Bootstrap" down to the crushing depths, unable to die, yet unable to move. Barbossa was able to figure out a way to reverse the curse: by returning the coins to the chest and offering a tribute in blood, the curse of the heathen gods would be satisfied, and the crew would be free. With this plan in mind, Barbossa and his crew set out to try and recover the treasure by using an ability to sense when a coin was near.

"First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the Pirate's Code to apply, and you're not. And thirdly, the Code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner."

―Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann — Listen (file info)[src]

Over the course of the next eight years, the crew raided and pillaged settlements throughout the New World, searching for the lost pieces of Aztec gold. At last, they returned all but one of the coins to the chest. One day, Barbossa and his crew sensed the last piece. They followed the "call" of the gold, and finally ended at the British colony of Port Royal. They attacked at night, blending in perfectly with the dark and cloudy night. The Pearl was followed by an eerie fog, a side-effect of the cursed crew's long-term occupation of the ship. Due to the cover, the Pearl was able to attack Port Royal unhindered. Barbossa ordered his cannonneers to fire on Fort Charles. While the ship occupied the fort's attention, Barbossa sent a raiding party to collect the coin.[5]

"Captain Barbossa, I am here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royal."

"A lot of long words in there, miss. We're naught but humble pirates. What is it that you want?"

"I want you to leave and never come back."

"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means 'no'."

―Elizabeth Swann and Hector Barbossa[src]

Some time later, the boats returned laden with swag. Two of Barbossa's crewmen, Pintel and Ragetti, came aboard with a young female hostage. When his boatswain, Bo'sun, asked them why they had brought a captive, the young woman tried to explain she had invoked the right of parley so she could negotiate a truce with the Captain, but was slapped in return. Barbossa took offence to this and reprimanded the boatswain and apologized to the woman. She audaciously demanded that Barbossa cease his attack on Port Royal, or else she would throw the Aztec coin overboard. Barbossa tried to hide the crew's need for the medallion she wore around her neck, but the young woman said that she had seen the Pearl on her crossing of the Atlantic from England eight years before. Barbossa asked for the girl's name. She responded by saying her name was Elizabeth "Turner", and that she was a maid in the governor's household. Barbossa was thrilled by the fact that they had very likely found "Bootstrap's" child, after all these years, and would finally be able to lift the curse. Barbossa agreed to leave Port Royal and ordered his crew to set sail. After giving over the medallion, "Miss Turner" demanded she be taken ashore. Barbossa refused, citing that her return to shore was not part of their agreement. With that, the Pearl set off towards Isla de Muerta, to lift the curse.[5]

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While the Pearl sailed towards Isla de Muerta, Barbossa entertained Elizabeth, and held her as his guest in his cabin. Food that was always kept near, in case the curse was lifted, was now able to be cooked and brought out. Barbossa watched, utterly envious, as Elizabeth ate her food. She, however, was suspicious as to why Barbossa was not eating, but was encouraging her to eat instead. Elizabeth asked if the food was poisoned; Barbossa was amused. He told her that there was no sense in killing her. Elizabeth asked why he was still keeping her. Barbossa saw that Elizabeth did not know about the curse, and so he told her the story of the crew and its curse. He then told her that she was the last blood sacrifice needed to lift the curse. At that, Elizabeth leapt up and attempted to run out of the cabin. Barbossa ran after her, but Elizabeth turned around and stabbed him with a knife from the table; she was shocked to see that Barbossa was unimpressed. Elizabeth then ran out into the moonlit sky, and ran face to face with the half-dead skeleton crew. While drinking wine from a bottle Barbossa explained the curse's effect on the crew, and, startled, Elizabeth ran back into the cabin, where she remained for the duration of the voyage. Barbossa locked the doors behind her and laughed.[5]

Upon reaching Isla de Muerta, the crew of the Pearl unloaded all of their booty into the caverns, while Barbossa prepared the ritual. After a short speech, Barbossa cut Elizabeth's palm with the ritual knife, covered the coin with her blood, and dropped it into the chest. Not feeling any different, Barbossa shot Pintel to see if the curse was lifted. Surprisingly, Pintel did not die. Barbossa confronted Elizabeth, asking her if William Turner was her father. Elizabeth admitted that she was not, but refused to tell Barbossa who William's child was. Frustrated, Barbossa slapped Elizabeth, dropping the coin as well. While the crew at first became angry at Pintel and Ragetti for bringing the wrong person, they soon turned their attention to Barbossa, claiming every decision he had made has led them from bad to worse, the curse itself being the most prominent example. But, when Barbossa brandished his sword, challenging the crew to fight him, no one dared fight against such a skilled swordsmen and stopped blaming Barbossa. The confrontation was interrupted by Jack the monkey, who pointed towards the exit of the caverns, screaming. Barbossa turned towards where Elizabeth had fell, and saw that she was no longer there.[5]

He ordered the crew to find her. Soon the crew called for him, and he went to find, much to his amazement, Jack Sparrow. Barbossa asked him how he got off his island, and Jack said that he had forgotten a very important thing, that he was Captain Jack Sparrow. Barbossa, annoyed with Jack's self-aggrandizing attitude, ordered his crew to kill Sparrow. Sparrow, however, coolly asked if Elizabeth's blood hadn't worked. Barbossa, perceiving Jack's motives, ordered his crew to hold fire. Jack then told him that he knew who's blood they really needed. Since a compromise couldn't be made on the spot, and the medallion, on the HMS Interceptor (Barbossa learned the name courtesy of Jack) was getting farther and farther out of Barbossa's reach.[5]

So the crew and Jack boarded the Pearl and headed out in hot pursuit of the Interceptor. Barbossa and Sparrow, meanwhile, attempted to cut a deal in Barbossa's cabin. Jack was attempting to make Barbossa give him "his" ship, where then he would strand Barbossa on a beach and shout the name of the person who's blood he needed to him, as he sailed away. Barbossa, however, did not feel comfortable with giving away his ship, while he trusted that the name Sparrow gave him was the one he needed. Negotiations were at a standstill when Bo'sun entered the cabin and informed them that the Interceptor was in view.[5]

Barbossa ordered Jack to be put in the brig and headed closely behind the Interceptor. The resourceful crew of the Interceptor, however, attempted to lose the Pearl over an unnamed shoal. The Interceptor, small and light, was easily able to transverse over the shoal. It then began to dump supplies and cargo overboard, to make it go even faster. Barbossa ordered the crew to bring out the oars, as well as the guns, confident that the Pearl would catch up with the Interceptor before she reached the shoals. As the Pearl slowly caught up, the Interceptor attempted one last trick. It lowered its starboard anchor into the shoal, catching one a rock and turning sharply around towards the Pearl. Barbossa quickly ordered the crew to turn the ship around, and ordered a full broadside.[5]

Barbossa gave his crew orders during the ensuing battle, overseeing the boarding of the Interceptor, and giving commands to his cannonneers. During the battle, the main mast of the Interceptor crashed onto the Pearl's deck, and Jack the monkey crept onto the mast and scurried onboard the Interceptor. The monkey soon returned, medallion in hand, with Sparrow (out of his cell) suspiciously in hot pursuit of the monkey. Barbossa's crew then captured the survivors of the crew aboard the Interceptor, and tied them up, while Barbossa, tipped off by his crew that they had set up an explosion, eagerly waited for the Interceptor's destruction, the medallion in his hand.[5]

After the Interceptor exploded, Barbossa was confronted by a man claiming to be Will Turner, son of "Bootstrap Bill". He intended to shoot himself, and fall into the sea, thus making his blood unattainable for Barbossa's plan to lift the curse. Barbossa asked Turner what his terms were; Turner said he wanted Elizabeth to be set free, a term Turner eagerly made clear previously, and he also wished for the crew of the Interceptor not to be harmed. Barbossa agreed, ordering the crew of the Interceptor to be locked in the brig.[5]

"I suppose in exchange, you want me not to kill the whelp."

"No, no, no. Not at all. By all means, kill the whelp. Just not yet. Wait to lift the curse until the opportune moment."

―Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow[src]

But, instead of just leaving Elizabeth at a port, he decided to cleverly twist his bargain with Turner and "release" Elizabeth by marooning her on an island, the same island that Jack had been marooned on all those years prior. But, she would have company; Sparrow was also to be marooned on the island, in response to his previous escape, and for trying to manipulate Barbossa. With those two dealt with, Barbossa turned the Pearl back toward Isla de Muerta, now finally able to lift the curse. At the request of his crew, Barbossa intended to kill Will and spill all of his blood to lift the curse in order to avoid any mistakes.[5]

"So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle 'til Judgement Day and trumpets sound, hmm?"

"Or you could surrender."

―Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow[src]

Barbossa's crew made for Isla de Muerta, though the Pearl sailed slower than usual due to damage sustained during the fight. By the time Barbossa began the ritual once more, this time with Will as the sacrifice, Jack Sparrow miraculously appeared yet again, leaving Barbossa in utter disbelief. Jack informed Barbossa and his crew that the HMS Dauntless was sailing just off shore, waiting for them. With the ritual successfully stalled, Jack offered Barbossa a deal: Barbossa would seize the Dauntless for himself, leaving Jack as captain of the Pearl, and would have the makings of his very own fleet, and could take the title of commodore. Enticed, Barbossa agreed to Jack's proposal in return for twenty-five percent of Jack's plunder, and Jack's promise that he would purchase Barbossa a big hat. Barbossa sent his men on a walk on the ocean floor, while he, Will and Jack waited in the caves for the battle to end.[5]

"You're off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters!"

―Hector Barbossa to Jack Sparrow[src]

Barbossa was starting to trust Jack again and noted that Jack was a hard man to predict. This trust ended when Jack freed Will, who engaged Barbossa's men, while Jack dueled Barbossa. Ultimately, Barbossa, knowing that Jack could not kill him, threw his weapon aside. Sparrow, taking the opportunity, stabbed Barbossa in the chest. Barbossa sighed to himself, ripped out the sword, and in turn stabbed Jack with it in the gut. Jack staggered backwards, feigning mortal injury, but a seemingly accidental step into a shaft of moonlight revealed him to be under the influence of the curse: He had sneaked a piece of gold from the Chest of Cortés while talking to Barbossa.

"Ten years you carry that pistol, and now you waste your shot."

"He didn't waste it."

―Hector Barbossa and William Turner[src]

The duel continued around the cave, quite pointlessly, until finally, Barbossa pulled a gun on Elizabeth Swann, who had come to help Will and Jack. Before Barbossa could pull the trigger, however, Jack shot him in the heart. Barbossa sneered, claiming that Jack wasted his shot. But upon defeating Barbossa's crewmen, Will had gathered the last two coins, with blood from himself and Jack, and dropped it all into the chest, lifting the curse. Unbuttoning his coat, Barbossa found that the wound from Jack's shot began to spurt blood. Barbossa then stated that he felt cold before falling to the cave floor, dead.[5]

"I feel...cold."

―Barbossa's last words before dying.[src]

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