Charles Vane, Pirate in the Caribbean. 18th century
A pirate is often called a highwayman of the sea.
In ancient times the Mediterranean was infested with pirates until Pompey exterminated them in 67B.C. During the
9th and 10th centuries A.D. the Norsemen or Vikings raided most of western Europe. A little later Moslem sailors from
North Africa - called Barbary pirates, or corsairs - began raiding the commerce of christian nations. They were not
suppressed until after 1800. During the 16th century and later, buccaneers preyed on Spanish ships carrying treasures
from America. However, most buccaneers were not pirates but privateers, operating with the approval of the English or
Captain William Kidd hanged in 1701 in London
A famous sea captain hanged as a pirate, although many believed him innocent, was William Kidd.Some believe
he was not a pirate at all. As a privateer Kidd was commissioned by King William III in 1696 to crash piracy in the Indian
Ocean and to seize booty from England's enemies. Apparently, according to the New Standard Encyclopedia, Kidd
crossed the narrow line separating privateering from piracy, for the English authorities soon received complains from
plundered vessels. He surrendered in 1699 at New York City on the promise of a pardon, but was sent to London for trial.
He was hanged in 1701 at Execution Dock on the Thames River waterfront.
After his death stories arose of treasures he had hidden. Tales of hidden pirate gold passed into folklore, and led to much
searching and digging and inspired many stories. Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is a novel about pirates and
Bartholomew Roberts, one of the most successful of pirates, was killed in battle in 1722 after taking more than 400 ships.
Other famous pirates were Blackbeard ( Edward Teach), John Avery and Jean Laffite.
Anne Bonny and Mary Read were women pirates.
Anne Bonny ( Cormac) ( 1697 - 1720), daughter of William Cormac and his maid was born in Kinsale, Ireland. As a
young woman ( 16 years old) Anne married James Bonny. In New Providence, today's Nassau, Bahamas she met pirate
Calico Jack Rackham. It's said that she left James for Rackham. As a woman she was not allowed to join his pirate crew.
She then disguised herself as a man to go on board Rackham's pirate ship the Revenge. Here she met another woman
who also disguised herself as a man. It was Mary Read.
Anne Bonny ( Cormac) Mary Read William Kidd
Mary was born in London. She mostly found herself in a man's world....dressed as a boy to find a job....was employed
aboard a ship....later joined the British military....married a sailor and eventually, after her husband's death
(dressed as a man) sailed on board a ship to the West indies which was captured by pirate Calico Jack Rackham.
Now as a member of Rackham's crew she met Anne Bonny. They became friends. Actually more than good friends.
Both still disguised as men sailed with and fought alonside the rest of the pirate crew.
In the Caribbean Anne fell pregnant. It's said that she gave birth on land ( in Cuba?)....then abandoned the child to join
the crew once again.
1720 - Rackham and his crew were captured by Governor Woodes Rogers' pirate-hunters captained by Captain Barnet.
All the men ( pirates) were hanged. Mary and Anne were both pregnant at the time.To avoid hanging, Read and Anne
revealed their pregnancy, delaying their sentence until they gave birth. But before Read could do so she died in prison
of a fever. Anne was granted an official pardon.
Piracy was most common about 1700, but continued into the 19th and even 20th century, especially in the Indian Ocean
and China Sea. Madagascar was long a pirate haunt.