Added on: 16th Dec 2014
William “Captain” Kidd was a Scottish sailor who was tried and
executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean.
Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as
there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer. Kidd’s fame
springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his
questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial.
His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not,
were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other
contemporary pirates and privateers.
Peter Easton was a pirate in the early 17th century who operated
along the Newfoundland coastline between Harbour Grace and
Ferryland from 1611 to 1614. Perhaps one of the most successful of all
pirates he controlled such sea power that no sovereign or state could
afford to ignore him and he was never overtaken or captured by any
fleet commissioned to hunt him down.
Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English
pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of
the American colonies. Although little is known about his early life,
he was likely born in Bristol, England. A shrewd and calculating leader,
Teach spurned the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image
to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed. Contrary to
the modern-day picture of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded
his vessels with the permission of their crews and there is no known
account of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive.
He was romanticised after his death and became the inspiration for
a number of pirate-themed works of fiction across a range of genres.
L’Olonnais first arrived in the Caribbean as an indentured servant
during the 1650s. By 1660, his servitude was complete and he began
to wander the various islands, before finally arriving in Saint-Domingue and
becoming a buccaneer. A year or two into his piratical career he was
shipwrecked near Campeche in Mexico. A party of Spanish soldiers
attacked his crew, killing most of them. L’Ollonnais himself survived by
covering himself in the blood of others and hiding amongst the dead.
He managed to escape and made his way to Tortuga where he held an
entire town hostage, demanding a ransom from its Spanish rulers.
The governor of Havana sent a ship to kill him, but l’Olonnais
captured and beheaded the entire raiding crew save one, whom he
spared so that a message could be delivered to Havana: “I shall never
henceforward give quarter to any Spaniard whatsoever.”
Known for being a hoodlum-turned-pirate, Edward Lowe spent his
childhood pick pocketing and beating up people for money. As he
approached adolescence, he became a ship rigger and went in with a
sloop sailing to Honduras where he had his first experience of piracy.
It has been said that he often tortured his captives as he sailed around
the Azores and teamed up with other notorious pirates who practiced
sadism just as he did.
A Welsh pirate, Bartholomew Roberts, more commonly known as
“Black Bart”, is often considered the most notorious pirate of his day.
He took to sea at a very young age and grew up as a highly competent
sailor. In the 17th century, people would dread sailing off the coast of
South America because of his notoriety.
Referred to by King William III as a “wicked and ill-disposed person,”
Tew was one of the most feared pirates of the Red Sea in the 17th century.
His piracy began when the Governor of Bermuda sanctioned him to
attack all the French ships and colonies he could find along the
African Coast. Fearless as he was, he attacked a widely celebrated
Indian ship manned by about 300 soldiers in Madagascar and still managed
to win. He died, however, after obtaining a mortal wound and the rest of his
crew were executed following his death.
Born Edward Seegar, England’s career as a pirate began when he was
enlisted as a first mate on a ship that was eventually taken by a pirate
named Captain Winter. As a captive, he won the confidence of the crew
of Captain Winter and became one of them. He sailed throughout the
Caribbean and African seas and succeeded in robbing and taking
several ships there, the most popular of which was a ship from Bristol
named Cadogan. He tortured and killed the captain of the ship before
bringing his reign of terror to Madagascar where he attacked several
Dutch ships and enlisted even more seafarers into piracy.
CHENG I SAO
A feared female Chinese pirate who married another notorious
pirate in 1801, I Sao took over the fleet of her husband when he died
and developed a code of laws that steered over 1,500 ships and 80,000
sailors. She became the most infamous pirate in Asia but the murder,
looting, and other crimes that she masterminded led to her eventual
downfall when she was captured and executed by Portuguese and
British bounty hunters.