Captain Kidd: Facts About the Scottish Pirate

Here are some facts about Captain William Kidd.

  • Captain Kidd was a 17th century Scottish sailor and pirate. He was hanged for piracy in 1701, although some historians feel he was judged unfairly.

  • Kidd was born in Scotland in 1645 and later moved to New York. In 1689 he joined an English and French ship in the Caribbean, and soon became ship’s captain.
  • While living in New York, Kidd helped to build Trinity Church. He loaned equipment from his ship which was used to lift the heavy stones into place.
  • Kidd’s crew threatened to mutiny unless Kidd became a pirate. During his two years away from England, piracy laws were tightened and Kidd was now a wanted man.
  • Captain Kidd and his crew attacked an Armenian ship, the Quedagh Merchant, in 1698. They stole silk, gold, silver, sugar and rum worth about 70,000 pounds at the time.

William Kidd

  • Kidd then sailed to the island of Madagascar where several of his crew deserted him. Kidd then returned to the Caribbean, learning that he was now being hunted as a pirate.
  • Captain Kidd was arrested in 1699 and spent some time in a Boston prison, where he supposedly became insane. He was taken back to England and hanged at Execution Dock in London.

Captain Kidd

  • After Kidd’s death, there were lots of rumours of buried treasure, and people searched for it all over the world. The famous book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson was based partly on these stories.
  • People have searched for the wreck of the Quedagh Merchant for many years. It was found in the Caribbean in 2007 and one of the cannons can be seen today in the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.
  • William Kidd was played by Charles Laughton in a 1945 film. He has appeared in video games, and in Wildwood, New Jersey, children dig up buried treasure during Captain Kidd’s weekend.

What next? Discover some more pirate facts, or learn about Blackbeard, another famous pirate.

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