Anne Bonny
Anne Bonny (born on March 8, 1702, died possibly on April 1782) was an Irish woman and one of the most famous female pirates during the 18th century era that is today most commonly known as The Golden Age of Pirates.

Anne Bonny is famous as one of few women to become pirates. Said to be as tough and fearless as any pirate, she stood alongside her shipmates in many a battle. In recent times she has appeared as a character in an Assassins Creed video game, and the US TV series Black Sails.

She was born illegitimately, as Anne Cormac, near Cork in Ireland. Her father had an affair with his maid, and Anne was born. The maid was sent away. Because he had an affair, his family were very upset with him and he was disinherited. Instead of the family money going to him, it went to his wife. His wife gave him an allowance (a bit like pocket money).

When Anne was still very young, she was brought to live with her father. So that his wife would not find out that Anne was his child - he dressed her as a boy. But his wife found out about Anne and she stopped his allowance.

 

Anne's father was so angry that his allowance was stopped, he brought the maid (Anne's mother) to live with them.

This was not a good idea and it led to the collapse of her father's law practice. Now, without work, and living with so much shame, he had to leave his family home in Ireland. He travelled to Carolina to start a new life with Anne and her mother.

 

In Carolina, her father became successful, and years later when her mother died, Anne took over as his housekeeper.
 

Anne grew up very tough and was not afraid of dealing very severely with any man that she didn't like.

 

Anne married a sailor called John Bonny. He father was not happy about this and threw her out of the house. John and Anne travelled to Providence in search of work.

 

It was while in Providence, she met John 'Calico Jack' Rackham, the pirate, who began courting her. She left her husband and eloped to sea with Calico Jack Rackham. When she became pregnant, Anne was sent to Cuba until she gave birth. She then returned to Rackham.
 

Anne Bonny was a formidable pirate who fought and drank as well as, if not better than, the male pirates. When she fought, she dressed as a man.

 
When their ship was finally taken in November 1720, Anne, alongside Mary Read and another crew member, were all that stayed on the deck to fight.

 

She was captured and convicted  of piracy and sentenced to hang. She was not hung because she was pregnant at the time. She was kept in jail until she gave birth.

 

There is no recorded evidence of what happened to her after that but she was not executed. It is believed that her father used his influence to have her freed. It is thought that she started a new life and died at the age of 82.

Famous Pirates


John 'Calico Jack' Rackham - Pirate (c1682 - 1720)
Calico Jack was an English pirate, however little is known of his life before piracy. He was active during what was known as ‘The Golden Age of Pirates’ and gained his notoriety from having two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, serving under his command. His greatest legacy was his flag, which has become the best known of all pirate flags.

 

John 'Calico Jack' Rackham

 John Rackham used to wear brightly coloured Indian Calico cloth.

This is how he became know as  Calico Jack.

He had his own pirate flag which became the most widely

known flag to represent pirates. It showed a skull

with two crossed swords beneath it. It is now know as the Jolly Roger.

 

 

Calico Jack first served as a Quartermaster aboard the sloop ‘Ranger’ under the pirate Charles Vane.
Calico Jack Fact   4:    While serving under Vane, Calico Jack, along with the rest of the ship’s company, snubbed the offer of the King’s Pardon.
Calico Jack Fact   5:    On 24th November 1718 he was voted Captain in place of Vane, who was branded a coward for ordering them all to sail away from a French Man of War rather than risk boarding her.
Calico Jack Fact   6:

He had his own flag which was to become the most recognized of all pirate flags. His flag was a skull with two crossed swords beneath it, now commonly known as the Jolly Roger.

Calico Jack Fact   7:

Several ships were plundered by him including a ship from Madeira, which they detained for two to three days before letting it go.

Calico Jack Fact   8:

Calico Jack and his crew spent Christmas 1718 ashore, drinking and merrymaking until they ran out of liquor. He then returned to the sea to get more.

Calico Jack Fact   9:

Although he was fairly successful, he didn’t take any great prizes except for a ship full of prisoners on their way from Newgate prison to the plantations. A few days later, he lost this prize to an English Man of War.

 

Picture of The Jolly Roger Flag

Calico Jack Fact 10:Two more ships were taken by him before he went to the Bahamas to refit his own ship using the stores, pitch and tar that he’d plundered. He stayed there a little too long, resulting in the Governor, Woodes Rogers, sending a sloop out after him. The sloop managed to retake the ships, however he managed to escape.

Calico Jack sailed for Cuba and stayed there until his money and provisions ran out. As he was preparing to leave, a Spanish Man of War approached, with an English sloop they’d captured, and attacked them. As evening came the Spanish ship stayed where it was, intending to finish them off the next morning. Realising he was trapped and his situation desperate, he waited until nightfall before taking his crew, armed with pistols and cutlasses, to the captured English Sloop. Calico Jack and his crew overcame the Spaniards on the ship and took command. He then sailed out to sea and escaped.
Calico Jack Fact 12:    In August 1720, he had only a small crew and was attacking small craft and fishing boats off the coast of Jamaica.
Calico Jack Fact 13:    In September 1720 he headed for Hispaniola where he took on some French crew. Calico Jack went on to plunder two sloops before returning to Jamaica, and on 19th October 1720 he took a schooner.
Calico Jack Fact 14:    The next day, he took a sloop, and the sloop’s crew joined them.
Calico Jack Fact 15:    The Governor came to hear of Calico Jack’s exploits and sent a heavily manned sloop, commanded by Captain Jonathan Barnet of the Royal Navy, to find him.
 Anne Bonny the Pirate    Calico Jack Fact 16:    Barnet caught up with Calico Jack at Point Negril and boarded his ship. Calico Jack and most of the crew retreated below the deck leaving Anne Bonny, Mary Read and another crew member to fight. After a short fight, his ship was taken.
Calico Jack Fact 17:    On 16th November 1720 at an Admiralty court in St. Jago de la Vega, Jamaica, Calico Jack and his crew were convicted of piracy and sentenced to hang.
Calico Jack Fact 18:    Calico Jack was hung on 18th November 1720 at Gallows Point in Port Royal. His body was later taken down and hung in chains from a gibbet.

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach - Pirate (1680 - 1718)
Probably the most notorious of all the pirates from what has become known as 'The Golden Age of Pirates'. As with so many pirates, his life was short lived, however the effect it had on history has ensured that the name Blackbeard will live on for many years to come. Blackbeard appeared as a character in the popular video game Assassins Creed IV Black Flag, and has been portrayed in many films including Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides and, more recently, the Peter Pan prequel - Pan.

This page details facts about Blackbeard's life and the events that shaped his history.

 

He was born as Edward Teach in Bristol around 1680.

Blackbeard Fact   2:He spent some time sailing on privateers.

Blackbeard Fact   3:Despite uncommon boldness and personal courage, he was never promoted to command a ship.

Blackbeard Fact   4:It’s believed that he became a pirate towards the end of 1716.

Blackbeard Fact   5:Edward Teach became known as Blackbeard having grown a large black beard that covered a large part of his face. He was known to twist it into small tails and tie them with ribbons.

Blackbeard Fact   6:He would light slow match fuses and hang them from under his hat. The resulting smoke and sparks made him look menacing.

Blackbeard Fact   7:He wore a sash across his body with three braces (pairs) of pistols.

Blackbeard Fact   8:The first ship that he commanded as a pirate was a sloop that he was put onto by Captain Benjamin Hornigold, who he'd served under for a time. Samuel 'Black Sam' Bellamy was also part of Hornigold's company at this time.

Blackbeard Fact   9:

He was in league with Hornigold until early 1718 when Hornigold accepted a general pardon for pirates offered by King George l (dated 5th September 1717 to last until 5th September 1718).

Blackbeard Fact 10:

In November 1717, he captured a French ship named La Concorde and changed it’s name to Queen Anne’s Revenge. To strengthen its fire power, he added 40 cannons.

Blackbeard Fact 11:

He met a 10 gun sloop commanded by Major Stede Bonnet. On discovering Bonnet was an inexperienced sailor, Blackbeard, with consent from his crew, placed Captain Richards in charge of Bonnet’s sloop. He then took Bonnet aboard his own ship telling him that he could live easy at his pleasure, and he would not be obliged to perform any duties.

 

Picture of King George I of England

 

Blackbeard Fact 12:After plundering five ships in the bay of Honduras, he let three of them go. The other two were burned, one because he spited the owner, the other because it was from Boston, where some men had recently been hung for piracy.

Blackbeard Fact 13:Blackbeard blockaded Charles Town, Carolina, taking many ships and prisoners. He sent a few pirates, with a prisoner, to the government of the province to demand a chest of medicine. The government gave in to his demands, and after plundering the ships, he released them and the prisoners.

Blackbeard Fact 14:His Company consisted of the Queen Anne’s Revenge and three sloops, when he decided to break it up and keep the best of their money and plunder. Faking an accident, he ran the Queen Anne's Revenge aground and ordered one of the others to come and help. In doing so, the other ship also ran aground. He transferred to another of the ships with around forty hands. They sailed to an island where he marooned seventeen of them.

 

Blackbeard Fact 15:He sailed to North Carolina where he accepted the King’s general pardon from the Governor Charles Eden.

Blackbeard Fact 16:During this time he bigamously married, what was said to be his fourteenth wife. It was believed that twelve of his wives were still alive.

Blackbeard Fact 17:Governor Charles Eden granted him one of the ships he had taken as a pirate. This was the start of a partnership between the two, which would see Blackbeard returning to piracy and sharing his spoils with the Governor.

Blackbeard Fact 18:In June 1718 he headed to Bermuda and met two or three English ships. He only robbed them of the provisions he required, then let them go.

Blackbeard Fact 19:Near Bermuda, he came across two French ships, one was empty the other loaded with Sugar and Cocoa. He set the crew of the loaded ship onto the empty ship then took the loaded ship back to North Carolina. The spoils were divided with a share going to the Governor and another to the Governor’s Secretary.

Blackbeard Fact 20:He set the French ship alight in a river to destroy any evidence of this deed.

Blackbeard Fact 21:He spent three or four months in the river sometimes trading with other ships and sometimes pillaging them. He acted similarly with the local planters. It was believed that he also took liberties with their wives. While there he was visited by fellow pirate Charles Vane who remained for around a week.

Blackbeard Fact 22:Knowing that Governor Eden was in league with him, complaints against Blackbeard were made to the Governor of Virginia. This resulted in a Proclamation offering rewards for capturing or killing pirates.

Blackbeard Fact 23:The Proclamation, dated 14th November 1718, specified the reward for Blackbeard as being one hundred pounds.

Blackbeard Fact 24:

A Lieutenant Robert Maynard, of the Royal Navy, was despatched, in secrecy, with two sloops by the Virginian Governor to deal with the pirate. Maynard finally encountered him on 22nd November 1718, and after Blackbeard boarded Maynard’s ship he was shot by Maynard but continued to fight.

Blackbeard Fact 25:He finally fell after being shot five times and receiving 20 other wounds.

Blackbeard Fact 26:

His head was cut from his body and mounted on the bowsprit of Maynard's ship. His body was thrown overboard.

Blackbeard Fact 27:

Blackbeard, along with Anne BonnyBenjamin HornigoldCalico JackMary Read and Charles Vane, has been included as a character in the popular videogame Assassins Creed IV, Black Flag.

 

Picture of Anne Bonny the Pirate

 

Blackbeard Fact 28:Blackbeard has been portrayed in many films including Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides. More recently,  Blackbeard featured in the Peter Pan prequel - Pan, where he was played by Hugh Jackman the actor famous for playing the X-Men character Wolverine. He has also appeared as a character in the US TV series Black Sails.

Henry Avery


Henry Avery (aka Every) - Pirate (1659 - Unknown)
Also known as Henry Every, he became a privateer before turning to piracy. He is renowned for taking an exceptionally rich prize, and being one of few pirates to retire with his plunder.

This page details facts about Henry Avery's life and the events that shaped his history.

 

Henry Avery (also known as Every) was born near Plymouth in Devon in 1659.
Henry Avery Fact   2:    Little is known of his early life, however In March 1689 Henry Avery was recorded as being a midshipman, under the command of Sir Francis Wheeler, aboard HMS Rupert, a battleship of sixty four guns.
Henry Avery Fact   3:    During 1689, following HMS Rupert taking part in the capture of a French convoy, Henry Avery gained promotion to Master’s Mate. He transferred to HMS Albemarle with Wheeler during 1690 and in August that same year, he was discharged from the Royal Navy.
Henry Avery Fact   4:    Following his discharge, Henry Avery became a slave trader. Not much is known about his time as a slave trader, however it is known that Henry Avery would trick the slave traders by using the English flag to make them think he was friendly, then he would imprison both the slaves and their traders.
Henry Avery Fact   5:    In 1693, Henry Avery became first mate on an English warship the ‘Charles II’, that had been commissioned, with three other ships, by Spain (England’s ally at the time) to attack French ships in the West Indies. The Ships left the Thames in Early August and headed for the Spanish city of Corunna. The ships arrived at Corunna five months later. The reason for the delay remains unknown.
Henry Avery Fact   6:    Henry Avery and the small fleet was kept waiting at Corunna as the legal paperwork required for the expedition, including the letters of marque, was not available. The crews were becoming troubled by their captivity and the fact that they hadn’t been paid. During this period of unrest, Henry Avery was actively moving between the ships encouraging the men to join him with the promise of taking them where they great wealth was to be found.
Henry Avery Fact   7:    Henry Avery instigated the mutiny when he rushed the ‘Charles II’ with around twenty five others, on the 7th May 1694. Captain Gibson was confined to his bunk at the time so the mutiny was over without bloodshed. A longboat from the ’James’ pulled alongside and the sixteen occupants joined Henry Avery and the mutineers.
Henry Avery Fact   8:    Henry Avery gave Gibson the choice of joining them or being put ashore in a longboat. He chose to go ashore, so Henry Avery called the rest of the crew on deck and gave them the choice as well. Fourteen or fifteen men chose to go ashore with Gibson.
Henry Avery Fact   9:    Henry Avery changed the name of the ship to ‘Fancy’.
Henry Avery Fact 10:    Henry Avery set sail and arrived at Maio, one of the Cape Verde islands, where they plundered provisions from three English ships. Henry Avery persuaded nine members of the crew to join them.
Henry Avery Fact 11:    Henry Avery continued on to Guinea where, under the guise of trade, he tricked a local chieftain and his men out of a quantity of gold dust. Continuing along the African coast, Henry Avery stopped at the Bight of Biafra where the ship was cleaned then modified by removing parts of the superstructure. This allowed the ship to become one of the Atlantics fastest sailing vessels.
Henry Avery Fact 12:    Henry Avery moved on to the island of Principe, where he took two Danish vessels. Henry Avery removed items that included some small arms, gold dust, linen and brandy. Approximately eighteen of the Danes joined the pirates, who also took the better of the two ships. The remainder of the Danes were put ashore and their other ship was set alight.
Henry Avery Fact 13:    While on course for Cape Lopez, Henry Avery came across a Portuguese slave ship with whom he traded some of his provisions for silks and clothes. While at the cape, Avery purchased some honey and scuttled the smaller ship, as the crew weren’t happy with the commander.
Henry Avery Fact 14:    After stopping at the island of Annobon (one of the Comoros islands) for provisions, Henry Avery sailed round the Cape of Good Hope to Madagascar, where he cleaned and provisioned the ship before heading for Johanna, an island between Madagascar and Africa. They took on more provisions and recruited thirteen French former privateers who had lost their ship at the island of Mohelli, another of the Comoros islands.
Henry Avery Fact 15:    Henry Avery and his crew decided to head for the Red Sea. On the way they met with two English Privateers, the ‘Dolphin’, fitted out in Philadelphia and commanded by Richard Want, and the ‘Portsmouth Adventure’, fitted out in Rhode Island and commanded by Joseph Faro. Both ships had crews of around sixty, and both decided to join with Henry Avery.

 
Henry Avery Fact 16:    The small fleet came upon the Island of Liparan (now known as Perim in the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb) at the entrance to the Red Sea, where three more English ships met with them. The ‘Susanna’ fitted out in Boston and commanded by Thomas Wake, the ‘Pearl’, fitted out in Rhode Island and commanded by William Mayes, and the Amity, fitted out in New York and commanded by Thomas Tew. They all agreed to join in partnership and elected Henry Avery as their overall commander.
Henry Avery Fact 17:    Each of the five ships that joined with Henry Avery had come from the north east coast of America and their captains were in possession of privateering commissions.
Henry Avery Fact 18:    They laid in wait for a Mughal fleet of twenty five ships to come down the Red Sea from Mocha. Having waited five or six days, they discovered that the fleet had passed them unseen, and decided to pursue them. The Dolphin proved too slow so the crew were brought aboard Henry Avery’s ship and the Pearl. The Dolphin was burned. The Amity also fell behind and never caught up. The remaining ships headed for Surat, which was the destination of the Mughal fleet.
Henry Avery Fact 19:    After four or five days they caught up with one of the ships, the ‘Fateh Muhammed’, which was fulfilling the role of an escort ship. The ship was easily taken as its crew offered very little resistance. Henry Avery’s men plundered the ship taking silver and gold to the approximate value of £60,000.
Henry Avery Fact 20:    Henry Avery then turned his attention to chasing another Mughal ship and caught up with the ‘Ganj-i-sawai’ a few days later. This ship was a large heavily armed vessel with eighty guns and four hundred guards armed with muskets. Although the Ganj-i-sawai made a daunting opponent, it was quickly disabled when its main mast was damaged by a broadside from Henry Avery.
Henry Avery Fact 21:    Avery brought his ship alongside the Ganj-i-sawai, but his pirates were unable to climb aboard as they were being pinned down by musket fire. Then one of the Ganj-i-sawais cannons exploded leading to much death and confusion. Henry Avery and his men took the opportunity to climb aboard along with the crew of the Pearl, who had initially been reluctant to attack, and entered into a hand to hand battle which lasted for two or three hours with both side losing many men.
Henry Avery Fact 22:    Henry Avery’s pirates overcame the Indians, and set to emptying the ship of its treasure. The pirates were brutal, torturing some of the Indians in an effort to find out where their money was. It was also said that many of the women were raped, and some killed themselves rather than be violated. Eventually Avery left the survivors to sail back to India in their empty ship.
Henry Avery Fact 23:    The spoils were divided between the Fancy and the Pearl. The Portsmouth Adventure didn’t take part in the battle so didn’t get a share. During a later exchange of gold and silver between the crews of the Fancy and the Pearl, it became clear that the Pearls crew had clipped the gold which led to the treasure being confiscated and the Pearl being left with just enough to provision. At this point, the fleet went their separate ways.
Henry Avery Fact 24:    Henry Avery headed for the island of Bourbon off the coast of West Africa, (now know as Reunion) arriving in November 1695. They divided the plunder, with each pirate getting around a £1,000 worth each plus a share of gemstones. Henry Avery then wanted to set sail for Providence (Nassau) in the Bahamas, but some of the crew objected and tried to start a mutiny. The mutiny failed, but those that didn’t want to go to Providence, stayed in Bourbon.
Henry Avery Fact 25:    
The attack on the Ganj-i-sawai caused outrage and resulted in a Proclamation from King William III for the apprehension of Henry Avery the pirate, with a reward of £500. When the Fancy arrived at the island of St. Thomas, Avery sent some men to Providence with a letter addressed to the Governor, Sir Nicholas Trott.

The letter asked for permission for the Fancy and the crew to enter Providence and move around freely, in exchange for goods to the value of around £1,000 and the ship itself. The letter was signed by ‘Henry Bridgeman’ the name that Henry Avery had now adopted.

King William III of England
     
Picture of King William III of England

 
Henry Avery Fact 26:    Trott agreed to the request so Henry Avery and the pirates settled there. After a while, the pirates became bored, and when the proclamation for the capture of Avery and his crew arrived, Trott tipped them off before alerting the authorities of their whereabouts. Henry Avery and his crew, with the exception of 24 men, managed to escape. At this point, all records of Henry Avery came to an end.
Henry Avery Fact 27:    There has been much speculation over Henry Avery’s fate, but no credible evidence has ever come to light.