Anne Bonny: Facts About the Famous Pirate

Here are some facts about Anne Bonny.

  • Anne Bonny was born Anne McCormac in the late 1690s in Cork, Ireland.

  • Her father was Mary Brennan, a servant, and her father was William McCormac, Mary’s employer.
  • William McCormac moved to London with his daughter and he started dressing her as boy and calling her Andy. He then took his family to Charles Town in South Carolina, United States and changed the family’s name from McCormac to Cormac.
  • Anne’s mother died when she was about twelve years old.
  • Anne had red hair.
  • At the age of 13 she apparently stabbed a servant with a table knife.
  • Anne married a sailor called James Bonny. As a result she was disowned by her father.

Anne Bonny

  • James and Anne moved to Nassau on New Providence Island at some point between 1714 and 1718.
  • James Bonny became an informant for Governor Woodes Rogers.
  • Anne Bonny met Calico Jack Rackham, a pirate captain, and the they started a relationship.
  • She divorced her husband and married Jack Rackham at sea.
  • Bonny, Jack Rackham and Mary Read, another female pirate, recruited a crew and spent months living as pirates in the seas around Jamaica.
  • Anne Bonny fought alongside the male pirates and she was named by Governor Woodes Rogers in his ‘Wanted Pirates’ list in The Boston News-Letter.
  • In 1720, Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read and the rest of Rackham’s crew were captured. they were sentenced to hang.
  • Mary Read died in prison, Jack Rackham was hanged, but there is no historical record detailing what happened to Anne Bonny.
  • Some historians believe she was ransomed by her father, others think she married a Jamaican Commissioner, changed her name to Annabele and lived into her eighties.
  • Anne Bonny appears in the video game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
  • She appears in the book Seizure by Kathy Reichs.
  • In some records, Anne Bonny is spelled Anne Bonney.

Pirate Facts

Here are some facts about pirates.

  • Piracy is the act of committing robbery at sea, and pirates have been active in the world’s oceans since the first merchant ships set sail.

Early Pirates

  • In the 1st century BC pirates based along the Anatolian coast posed a threat to trading ships of the Roman Empire, and in 75 BC Julius Caesar was briefly held captive by Cilician pirates.
  • In the Middle Ages in Europe, the Vikings were the most feared and successful pirates, raiding the coasts of Western Europe from their bases in Scandinavia. The Vikings also raided the coast of North Africa.
  • Moor pirates established bases along the coasts of southern France and northern Italy. They sacked Rome in the 9th century.
  • In 937 a group of Irish pirates, Vikings, Picts, Scots and Welsh invaded England. They were defeated by Athelstan.

Barbary Corsairs

  • The Barbary Corsairs were the pirates that sailed out of the North African ports (such as Algiers and Tunis) of the Barbary Coast.
  • Active from the time of the Crusades to the early 1800s, it is estimated that over 1 million Europeans were captured by the Barbary Corsairs and sold into slavery.
  • Most Barbary Corsairs were Ottoman, such as Oruc Reis (Redbeard) and Kurtoglu, but some were European pirates who had converted to Islam, such as John Ward (originally from England).

Privateers

  • Privateers were essentially pirates who were given permission by a kingdom’s ruler to commit acts of piracy against the kingdom’s enemies.
  • The Barbary Corsairs were privateers, commissioned by the Ottoman Empire.
  • Sir Francis Drake was a privateer, authorised by Queen Elizabeth I to plunder the ships of England’s enemies.

The Golden Age of Piracy

  • From the 1650s to the mid-1720s, the Caribbean was the location of the classic era of piracy.
  • The buccaneers, originally European hunters who were living illegally on the island of Hispaniola, became a threat to Spanish shipping. Forced from their homes by the Spanish, these hunters turned to piracy, establishing numerous bases including Tortuga and Port Royal.
  • The name buccaneer comes from the French word boucan the French word to describe how the European hunters barbecued their meat over a fire made from green wood.
  • Famous buccaneers included Jean le Vasseur (who led a group operating out of Tortuga), Pierre Le Grand, and Henry Morgan.
Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
  • Henry Morgan was an escaped servant who joined a group of buccaneers based in Jamaica. He sacked Puerto Principe in Cuba in 1668 and seized Panama City.
  • Henry Morgan was sent back to England and tried as a pirate, but he was eventually forgiven by King Charles II and made a knight.
  • In the 1690s pirates began to look for targets beyond the Caribbean.
  • Pirates such as Thomas Tew, Henry Avery and William Kidd began to attack ships in the Indian Ocean, and in the 18th century pirates started to target the trading traffic between Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.
  • Britain was granted a contract from the Spanish government to supply slaves to Spain’s colonies in America. This opened up the American market to merchants and traders, which in turn led to an increase in piracy in the Atlantic.
  • In the early 18th century the most famous pirates operating out of the Caribbean were Blackbeard (Edward Teach), Calico Jack Rackham, along with Mary Read and Anne Bonny, and Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart).
  • Piracy in the Caribbean declined dramatically after 1720 as the Royal Navy clamped down on this illegal activity.

Blackbeard: Facts About Edward Teach

Here are some facts about Blackbeard, the famous pirate who preyed upon ships in the Caribbean and off the coast of Mexico and the east coast of North America.

  • Blackbeard’s real name was Edward Teach (sometimes recorded as Edward Thatch). He was born in England (probably Bristol) in about 1680.

  • He was able to read and write, so many historians have come to the conclusion that he was from a wealthy family.
  • He joined the crew of Captain Benjamin Hornigold, an English pirate in 1716. Hornigold gave him command of a captured ship, and when Hornigold retired from a life of piracy, Teach started out on his own.
  • In 1717, Edward Teach and is crew attacked and captured the French merchant ship called La Concorde. Teach converted the ship to a pirate vessel, adding 40 guns and renaming her Queen Anne’s Revenge.
  • In late 1717, the first mention is made of Edward Teach as Blackbeard.
  • Blackbeard was tall, broad-shouldered and wore long boots, a wide-brimmed hat, and slings full of pistols slung across his body. He had long dark hair and a long dark beard. When in battle he would attach lit fuses to his hair. these would slowly burn, creating sparks and smoke, making Blackbeard look ferocious.

Blackbeard

  • Blackbeard understood how important his appearance and image were. If he could scare his opponents into giving up their cargo, he wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of actually fighting them.
  • In 1718, Blackbeard accepted a pardon from Charles Eden, the Governor of North Carolina. For a while, Blackbeard lived as an honest citizen, but it wasn’t long before he returned to piracy, This time he was backed by the Governor, who took a cut of the profits in return for protection.
  • Blackbeard was on good terms with a number of other famous pirates. He frequently worked with Stede Bonnet, and he knew Robert Deal, Charles Vane and Calico Jack. Blackbeard’s first mate, Israel Hands, appears as a character in Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Blackbeard was killed in battle on 22nd November 1718 by troops under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard. Apparently, he had been shot five times and slashed about twenty times before he had finally stopped fighting.
  • Blackbeard’s severed head was attached to the bowsprit of Maynard’s ship.
  • Blackbeard has been portrayed in many films over the years, including: Blackbeard’s Ghost and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
  • Many treasure hunters have spent time searching for Blackbeard’s hidden gold. However, most historians think it is unlikely that he ever buried any of his treasure.
  • Legend states that Blackbeard’s headless body swam around one of Lieutenant Robert Maynard’s ships three times after it was cast into the water.