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.
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:
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.