Famous Pirates

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These are just a few of the most famous pirates in history. You may be able to find out more about them in books.



He had a thick, jet-black beard (see his nickname) which was plaited and tied with ribbons. He went into battle with three pairs of pistols strapped across his chest, a number of daggers and pistols in his belt, a cutlass and a slow-burning fuses (made from thick hemp cord) tucked under his hat. He was very savage and cruel to those he captured, and to his crew. He was eventually killed in battle, and his head was cut off and stuck to the bowsprit of the boat that caught him.


Captain Morgan

Songs were written about him as the greatest of the buccaneers. Morgan was the leader of the Port Royal buccaneers in the late 1660s. His boldest deed was the taking of Panama which was thought to be the richest settlement of the New World in 1671. He eventually became Deputy Governor of Jamaica, and was given the title Sir Henry Morgan.


Sir Francis Drake

Drake was a privateer, and the first captain to take his own ship around the world. During his long career he made no more than seven voyages to the Spanish Main in search of treasure, adventure and revenge. He was given a letter of marque by Queen Elizabeth I so that he could attack Spanish ships.

In 1577 - 80 he made the first circumnavigation of the world by an Englishman and returned with a cargo of splendid plunder taken from Spanish galleons and raids upon the coasts of Chile and Peru.


Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny met the swaggering Captain Calico Jack Rackham and joined his pirate ship dressed as a man. When their ship was attacked by a British Navy sloop off the coast of Jamaica in 1720 Bonny and fellow female pirate, Mary Read, drew their pistols and cutlasses and fought like demons.

The rest of the pirates, drunk on rum, hid in the hold. Like Mary Read, she escaped the death sentence at her trial because she was pregnant. Noone knows what happened to her after that.


Mary Read

Dressed in mens clothes Read had fought as a soldier in Flanders. Still dressed as a man, she sailed with Anne Bonny in the ship of John Calico Jack Rackham. At her trial in 1720 she escaped the death sentence because she was pregnant, but died of an illness shortly afterwards.


Captain Kidd

Captain Kidd was not a very successful pirate. He left his job as a merchant in New York, to serve as a privateer against the French. He was sent off in 1696 to hunt pirates but after a lot of things went wrong on his ship, he began to raid other vessels in the Indian Ocean.

He was arrested on his return to America in 1699 and sent to England to stand trial for piracy. Kidd was not helped by the people who had given him papers, so he was found guilty. He was hanged at Execution Dock and his body swung from a gibbet, in an iron cage off Tilbury Point for years, as a warning to other seamen against piracy.


Black Bellamy

In one year Black Bellamy, captain of a notorious pirate crew, plundered more than 50 ships.

One morning off Cuba, Bellamy and his buccaneers captured the Whydah, a 100-foot three-masted galley packed with thousands of silver and gold coins. Excited with his prize, he sailed this ship for home, in America. By April 1717 he was off Cape Cod when his fleet was stuck by a storm with 70 mph gales and 40 foot tall waves. The Whydah was top heavy and the winds blew her closer to the shore. The Whydah capsized, breaking her back with a loud crack, and sank to the bottom of the sea. Black Bellamy died, and only two sailors survived the wreck.

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