Piracy is the act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically in an attempt to steal cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. The earliest documented instances of piracy date back to the 14th century, when a group of ocean raiders called the Sea Peoples attached ships from the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Let’s talk a look at the top 5 most famous pirates in history.
William Kidd (Scottish, 1645 – 1701)
William Kidd was a stylish Scotsman who began his career as a privateer, originally working to rid the seas of pirates. However, he ended up turning into a pirate himself when he was reluctantly elected pirate captain by his crew. His downfall occurred shortly after he attacked an East India Company Vessel was later captured in Boston along with his wife. William Kidd was sentenced to death, and suffered a excruciating execution as the noose broke twice and his body was doused in tar and hung by chains along the Thames River. What a sad way to go!
Edward Teach “Blackbeard” (English, 1680- 1718)
Blackbeard is one of the best-known and widely-feared pirates of his time. At one point, he commanded four ships and had a pirate army of 300 men. He captured over forty merchant ships in the Caribbean sea, and with merciless when it came to murdering his victims. After a dramatic battle off the coast of North Carolina, he was defeated by the Royal Navy and beheaded. As a warning to other pirates in the area, his severed head was raised upon a stake in Virginia’s Hampton River. Sure sounds scary to me!
Bartholomew Roberts “Black Bart” (Welsh, 1682 – 1722)
Robert was well admired for his courageous demeanor, and his crew fiercely respected his authority. Before Roberts was a pirate he was actually a navy officer on board a ship that was captured by the pirate Howell Davis. With the support of his men, Roberts overtook the pirate and took charge of the ship himself. With exceptional navigational skills and bravado, Roberts plundered over 400 well-armored ships during his escapades.. He died in a brutal battle against British Captain Chaloner Ogle, and his legend has lived on ever since.
Henry Every “Long Ben” (English, 1653-unknown)
Every served on various ships in the British Royal Navy before he joined a venture known as the Spanish Expedition Shipping in 1693. He ultimately became a pirate captain through mutiny, earning him a reputation as the most feared and successful pirates of the Red Sea. In reality he didn’t take many ships, but the two that he did capture were among the finest in the Indian Ocean filled with gold and jewels. Due to these extravagant discoveries, Long Ben was the richest pirate in the world when he disappeared into retirement. The exact details regarding his death remain a mystery.
Anne Bonny (Irish, 1700-1782)
Anne arrived in the New World with her family, and shortly met and married a poor sailor named James Bonny. However, the love didn’t last long as she quickly grew disappointed by her husband’s lack of ambition and began seeking out the company of many different men in Nassau. One man she met was the famous pirate ship captain “Calico Jack” Rackham. She joined his crew whilst acting and dressing like a man, and even fought under his command along with fellow female pirate Mary Read. Not a fading flower, she revved up the crew and prompted greater bloodshed and violence as she became a pirate in her own right. No one is sure how this famous female pirate died, but though there is speculation that she returned home to her husband or family.
Pirates and the legends of their bravado and cruelty will forever live on through the stories we read and hear. All these pirates enjoyed fame and glory during their hay day, but most sadly met a bitter end. Which pirate do you think was most fearsome?