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The Entire Pirates Of The Caribbean Timeline Explained

Based on the popular Disneyland attraction, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series is a fantastical adventure that makes the 1700s seem action-packed and exciting. Whether you're into the epic love story between Orlando Bloom's Will Turner and Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, or you just really love Johnny Depp's off-putting pirate Jack Sparrow, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series is no doubt one of Disney's greatest live-action triumphs. With seafaring battle sequences, mystic quests, a dense mythology, and some pretty ingenious worldbuilding, there's a lot to love about this swashbuckling group of films.

While it seems like Depp won't be returning for any future installments, a sixth film is reportedly in development, hoping to continue on the story we left behind in "Dead Men Tell No Tales." At this point, we know very little about what a new "Pirates" film may entail or what future plans Disney may have for the franchise, but that won't stop us from going back at watching the series through one more time. The "Pirates" timeline can sometimes get a bit confusing, especially when flashbacks and time-jumps are concerned, so we've put together an easy way to catch you up on all the important details surrounding this story.

Myths and Legends

The vast mythology of "Pirates of the Caribbean" actually begins over a hundred years prior to the first film, when the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés attacked the Aztec people, only to be given a stone chest filled with over 800 pieces of pure Aztec gold. In exchange, Cortés was to cease killing their people, but he violently refused. Because of his treachery, a group of Heathen Gods cursed the gold, so that anyone who took even one coin from the chest would become undead, appearing as a skeleton in the moonlight. Eventually, Cortés moved the treasure to the Isla de Muerta for safekeeping, where it wouldn't be discovered again for another hundred years.

Elsewhere, another conquistador named Juan Ponce de León set sail for the Fountain of Youth. After discovering Florida, Ponce de León attempted to find the Fountain, only for his ship to get caught in a storm where he eventually died. His route towards the Fountain would be written down on a map. Jack Sparrow would eventually acquire and use this map in his own quest.

The tragic tale of Davy Jones

Not long after these events, a young sailor named Davy Jones fell in love with the sea-goddess Calypso, who gave him a mythical ship — the Flying Dutchman — as a gift. As captain of the Dutchman, Jones had to ferry dying souls to the underworld for ten years before he was allowed back on dry land to be with her. Jones willingly accepted and did his job faithfully for a decade, but when the end of his term came, Calypso didn't show. Heartbroken and spited, Jones turned on his love and helped the First Brethren Court of Pirates — a council of pirates who banded together in time of crisis — bind Calypso into the form of human voodoo priestess Tia Dalma using their mythic Nine Pieces of Eight. These Pieces of Eight would later be passed down to each new generation of Pirate Lords for safekeeping, including Jack Sparrow.

Unable to handle his own betrayal, Jones decided to literally carve out his own heart. He placed it in the Dead Man's Chest, which he then buried on Isla Cruces, far away from himself and the rest of the world. The only key to the chest lied with him, and he would wear it around his neck for over a century. It was during this time that Jones completely gave up on ferrying souls, which slowly cursed him and his crew into hideous sea-creatures who became the fear of every seafaring man.

A Sparrow takes flight

Over a hundred years later, a young pirate named Jack Sparrow was born. Growing up, Jack spent all his time at sea, clashing with other pirates, soldiers, and the East India Trading Company (with whom he had a complicated history). At some point, Jack met and fell in love with Angelica, the daughter of the infamous pirate Blackbeard, taking her away from her vows at the nunnery and showing her the world of piracy. They traveled the world together ... but of course, it wasn't bound to last. After mutual heartbreak and betrayal, they soon parted ways. After this, Jack meets voodoo priestess Tia Dalma, who takes a liking to Jack. She eventually trades him his trademark compass, which he either gives or loses to his captain.

Eventually, Jack's ship caught the eye of the Spanish pirate hunter Armando Salazar, who pursued the pirates into the Devil's Triangle. By a combination of skill and sheer luck, Jack escaped the Triangle — but in so doing, left Salazar and his men to die. Unbeknownst to Jack, the Triangle cursed Salazar, resurrecting him and his men as ghosts bent on revenge. Unfortunately for them, they cannot leave the Devil's Triangle as their fate is tied to that of Jack's mysterious compass, which he inherited from his dying captain just before Salazar's death — who warned him to "never betray the compass." Sometime after this, Jack somehow became one of the Pirate Lords, and a vital member of the Brethren Court.

Treachery comes for all

Eventually, Jack would make a deal with Davy Jones: In exchange for allowing him to captain the Black Pearl (the fastest ship in the sea) for 12 years, Jack would serve 100 years on the Dutchman. Of course, Jack's tenure as captain didn't last long — his first mate Hector Barbossa soon lead a mutiny against him, stranding him on a deserted island which he eventually escaped. Hoping to find Hernán Cortés' Aztec treasure on their own, and without Jack, Barbossa and his men sailed to Isla de Muerta. After finding the cursed gold and spending it across the sea, they became cursed themselves. 

Only Bootstrap Bill Turner, a pirate still loyal to Jack, was sorry for their treachery against their former captain and spoke out against Barbossa. Angry, Barbossa sent Bill into the sea, but not before Bill gave one of the pieces of Aztec gold to his young son, Will, so that the curse would never be lifted. Years later, a young Will Turner would set out to find his lost father, only for the small ship he sailed on to be attacked by the Black Pearl, leaving Will the only survivor. Will was found by the crew of the HMS Dauntless, and was tended to by a young Elizabeth Swann before returning to Port Royal. While tending to Will, Elizabeth found his Aztec gold piece and stole it in fear that the crew would think he was a pirate.

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Nearly a decade later, the events of the first film, "The Curse of the Black Pearl," take place. After making his way to Port Royal, Jack secures the help of Will Turner, who had since become the apprentice to a blacksmith, to reclaim his ship after Barbossa's men invaded the city and took Elizabeth hostage. After finding "her" Aztec gold piece, the pirates mistakenly believed her to be the lost child of Bootstrap Bill. After stealing the HMS Interceptor, Jack and Will sail to Tortuga, where they find a new crew — including Jack's first mate Mr. Gibbs — and head onto the cursed Isla de Muerta. But once they arrive, Barbossa discovers the truth about Elizabeth. He then kidnaps Will, Bill Turner's actual child, and dumps Jack and Elizabeth on the same deserted island they once dumped Jack years prior.

After Commodore James Norrington finds them, Jack and Elizabeth convince Norrington to storm Isla de Muerta. This allows Jack and Will to face Barbossa and his men, lifting the curse just in time for Jack to shoot Barbossa dead. Afterward, Will and Elizabeth are reunited, and although Jack helped save Elizabeth's life, he was still sentenced to death for piracy. Thankfully, his story doesn't end here. With a little help from Will and Elizabeth, Jack's crew comes to his rescue, saving him from sudden death before sailing off in Jack's reacquired Black Pearl, in search of their next adventure.

Dead Man's Chest

A year later, the events of "Dead Man's Chest" occur. As punishment for helping Jack, Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company interrupts Will and Elizabeth's wedding. He sends Will on a mission to attain Jack's mysterious compass (which points the user in the direction of whatever they want most) in exchange for their freedom. Soon after, Will finds Jack, but Jack instead sends him on his own quest to find the key to Davy Jones' Chest, selfishly placing Will on board the Dutchman instead of himself. While there, Will meets his father, Bootstrap Bill, and swears that he'll break his curse before escaping with the key. Meanwhile, Elizabeth escapes her captivity from Beckett and, along with a disgraced James Norrington, joins Jack's crew.

Eventually, the Black Pearl meets Will at Isla Cruces where a fight breaks out between Jack, Norrington, and Will — all wanting the Chest for themselves. Secretly, Norrington steals Jones' heart from Jack, only to hand it over to Lord Beckett in exchange for his reinstatement as Commodore. Unfortunately, Jones also arrives and sends the Kraken after Jack and the Black Pearl. With no way out, Elizabeth cuffs Jack to the Pearl, figuring that the Kraken only wants him. As the crew escapes, Jack goes down with his ship, straight into Davy Jones' Locker, but not before bravely facing the Kraken singlehandedly. As Will, Elizabeth, and the others mourn Jack's loss, the voodoo priestess Tia Dalma reveals a resurrected Barbossa.

At World's End

Months later, during "At World's End," Lord Beckett declares war on all pirates, using Davy Jones to slaughter them mercilessly across the sea. It's at this time that Barbossa leads Will, Elizabeth, Mr. Gibbs, and a host of others into Davy Jones' Locker to restore Jack to life, needing all the Pirate Lords to defeat Beckett. After returning to the land of the living, Barbossa trades Elizabeth to the Pirate Lord Sao Feng, who is under the impression that Elizabeth is Calypso. After Sao Feng is killed, Elizabeth inherits his Pirate Lord mantle and, with James Norrington's sacrifice, escapes Davy Jones to meet with the reassembled Brethren Court of Pirate Lords. There, the Court decide to go to war with Beckett and Jones, who arrive at their doorstep.

In defense, Barbossa uses the Pirate Lord's Nine Pieces of Eight to free Calypso from her mortal guise of Tia Dalma. This causes a massive maelstrom, sending the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman into battle. In the scuffle, Will and Elizabeth are finally married, but only before Will is killed by Davy Jones. It's here that Jack sacrifices his dream of eternity at sea and uses Will's hand to stab Jones' heart, making Will the Dutchman's new captain. A resurrected Will captains the Dutchman alongside the Black Pearl to defeat Lord Beckett, sending his army off for good. Afterward, Will and Elizabeth enjoy one whole day of bliss on dry land before he returns to the sea.

The sea in between

Nine months after their final day together, a young Henry Turner is born to Will and Elizabeth. It would be 10 more years before Henry would meet his father now that Will is under the same curse as Davy Jones (just without tentacles). Here, the Turner family is able to spend one whole day on dry land together. A few years later, Henry attempts to drown himself to tell his father the exciting news that he's found a way to break Will's curse: The Trident of Poseidon — which he believes he can find with the help of Captain Jack Sparrow. Of course, Will tells his son to forget about the Trident, Jack, and himself entirely, believing quite tragically that it's too late for him and that he is now a slave to the sea.

Meanwhile, Jack can never quite catch a break. After losing the Black Pearl to Barbossa again, Jack sails on his own to find the Fountain of Youth and thus attain immortality. He spends the next 15 years (give-or-take) semi-searching for the Fountain before the events of the fourth film. But the Black Pearl doesn't remain Barbossa's for long, as Blackbeard soon attacks Barbossa's crew and uses his magic to shrink the boat into a bottle. After losing his ship, and his leg in combat, Barbossa gives up his life of piracy and becomes a privateer for the Royal Navy, where he fathers a young daughter named Carina Smyth ... who he abandons.

On Stranger Tides

Years later, "On Stranger Tides" sees Jack enlisted by King George II to lead an expedition to the Fountain of Youth alongside Barbossa, who reveals that he lost the Black Pearl. Jack soon escapes, only to be drafted to the Queen Anne's Revenge by Angelica, his old flame ... and her father Blackbeard, who has escaped death before with the use of magic. At the same time, Barbossa recruits Jack's ally Mr. Gibbs to lead him to the Fountain, all the while being pursued by the Spanish. It's soon revealed that the Fountain only works with a ritual that includes two chalices from Ponce de León's lost ship, a mermaid's tear, and the Fountain's water itself. As it turns out, whoever drinks of the cup the mermaid tear enters will take the lifeforce of the other, resulting in their death.

Upon finding the Fountain, a battle erupts between Barbossa's men, Blackbeard's crew, and the Spanish, with the latter destroying the Fountain. In the chaos, Barbossa fatally wounds Blackbeard with a poisoned sword before claiming Blackbeard's magic sword, crew, and the Queen Anne's Revenge for himself — a pirate once more. While trying to help her father, Angelica is also poisoned, forcing Jack to cleverly swap the two chalices so that Angelica may live in Blackbeard's place. Unsure that he can truly trust her, Jack eventually leaves Angelica stranded on a deserted island and reunites with both Gibbs and his bottled Black Pearl.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

In the events surrounding the most recent film, "Dead Men Tell No Tales," the Spanish pirate hunter Armando Salazar finally returns. He meets a young Henry Turner and spares his life, hoping to send a message to Jack. Elsewhere, Jack barters his compass for a drink, effectively "betraying" it and setting Salazar and the other spirits free. Before they can find him, Jack meets up with a young woman named Carina Smyth, who many of the locals thought was a witch due to her scientific know-how, and is found by Henry before embarking on their search for the lost Trident of Poseidon, cleverly out-maneuvering Salazar on their way.

The trio eventually meet up with Barbossa, who helps them restore the bottled Black Pearl to its full size before they sail ontowards to the Trident. Along the way, they discover that Carina is Barbossa's long-lost daughter. After finding the Trident, Salazar pursues the foursome into the magically parted ocean, and — upon Henry's destruction of the Trident — Salazar and his crew are restored to life. Still hating Jack, Salazar pursues him to the Black Pearl, dragging the ship down with him before Barbossa sacrifices his life to save his daughter. With the curses of the sea broken, Will and Elizabeth Turner are finally reunited, Henry and Carina begin a romance, and Jack sails off with the Black Pearl finally under his command. Though, it seems that Davy Jones might've been restored to life as well ...