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Top 10 of the Most Notorious Pirates From History

Travel on the sea was the safest means of transport until pirates came into the picture. Piracy is one of the deadliest crimes in history. It dates back to the second century BC. This period is when naval routes opened up to the new world. Some of the oldest pirates, like the Illyrians and Cilicia, attacked any vessel on the sea through organized surprise attacks that caused mayhem and fetal deaths. This attacks made the government devise ways to protect their territories. Privateers were created to curb the notorious pirates and protect their sea boundaries. However, some privateers turned against the governments and became pirates. In a crime widely dominated by men, it would be surprising to find women doing the same job. But the truth is, women were equally involved in these criminal acts. Below are the ten little known pirates in history.

Edward Jordan

Edward Jordan

Born in 1771, Edward Jordan was a notorious pirate of Irish Origin. He gave Vessels along Nova Scotia sleepless nights through his acts of robbery. Born in Ireland, Carlow county, Jordan was part of the Rebellions that took place between the years 1797 and 1798. He was acquitted of the crime and decided to start a brand new life as a fisherman a job that led him to piracy. The low standards of living plunged him to debts. In a bid to evade the payments, he man-slaughtered a crew who had come to take his only ship named “Three Sisters” on September 13, 1809. Fortunately, one crew member named John Stairs survived to tell the horror incident. Edward Jordan was arrested by HMS cuttle, a royal navy schooner and convicted. Found guilty of his crimes, Edward Jordan sentenced to death on November 23, 1809. His tarred body was chain hanged on a gibbet to serve as a warning to others.[1]

Edward “Ned” Low

Edward Ned Low

Edward Low was one of the most brutal pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy. Born in Westminister, London, England in 1690, Low lived a criminal life ever since he was a child. He was an avid gambler who often beat others and made away with their hard-earned money. Low was not only active physically but also super intelligent. He used this skillset to have his way in his crime career. After years of petty thievery in England, Low set off to the new world to start a new life. His first job was as a woodcutter working for a Honduras ship in 1714. Tired of his boss’s orders, Low fired at his captain but luckily missed it and killed his workmate. The ship’s captain decided to get rid of Low and the other woodcutters. This event marked the start of Low’s life into piracy. Using a small boat, Low and his crew moved to the Cayman Islands where they signed a deal with Captain George Lowther. Captain George was the owner of Happy Delivery, who was in urgent need of workmen. Within a few weeks into the piracy job, Lowther saw great achievements of Low, and he promoted him to higher ranks. He acquired one of the captured ships which propelled his piracy career.

On one of their Piracy missions, Happy Delivery was attacked by local natives and burned to ashes. Low and his other survivors escaped and resumed piracy once more time. This time in a brutal manner. His cruel and barbaric acts made him the most wanted criminal on the Atlantic. Smart as he was, Low used force when necessary. He often threatened his victims, only those who resisted were killed. Over the years, Low captured many vessels and was able to control dozens of them. He would burn captured ships that he no longer needed. He brutally killed his captives by either beating them to a pulp or burning them to death. On one occasion, Low cut one of his prisoner’s lips, cooked them, and fed them to the poor prisoner. History has it that Low’s piracy career came to an end in 1723. Greyhound, a navy ship tasked with fishing out pirates in the Atlantic area, attacked his Ranger. Low’s lieutenant named Charles Harris was arrested together with other pirates aboard the Ranger and convicted in Rhode Island. They died in the gallows. Meanwhile, Low escaped. His fate’s accounts conflict with sources citing that he spent the rest of his life in Brazil while others say he was captured and hanged. Nevertheless, his brutality ceased as from 1725.[2][3]

Victual Brothers

Victual Brothers

Victual Brothers are one of the lesser-known but fierce pirates who raged havoc in the 14th century. It was in the time of war for the dominance of Scandinavian, between the queen of Denmark and the king of Sweden in 1393. The war led to a shortage of supplies to Stockholm. To save the situation, the king had no choice but to act swiftly. The Victual Brotherhood was created to fight at sea and shipped in any food supplies they robbed in the sea. This group of mariners started as a government-affiliated group but turned into piracy after the war subsided.

They acquired the name Victual from their role of supplying the town with food and other necessities. Conducting their operations majorly in the Baltic and North Seas, the group conquered many towns among them Hanseatic city, Bergen, and Malmo. They later marked their territory in Visby under the name Likedeelers. Klaus Stortebeker, the notorious leader of the group, was captured in 1400 together with his crew and taken to Humburg where they were beheaded.[4]

Black Caesar

Notorious Pirates Black Caesar

Born in the age of slavery, Black Caesar was an African chief turned pirate who amassed great wealth and became the most feared pirate in the world. He was not only active in statue but super-intelligent that he occasionally escaped being captured as a slave. But his witty ways came to an end when one slave trader lured him to his ship. Before Ceasar realized he was cuffed and bundled into the boat and transported as a slave. Aboard the ship, the one mighty chief befriended one of the ship’s crew. As the slave ship neared Florida, a fierce hurricane hit. As fate would have it, the sailor freed Black Caesar, and together they escaped unharmed aboard a boat full of supplies and armory. These supplies and firearms helped them kick-start their piracy life. They started by luring trade ships in the pretense of being badly in need of help.

They would then rob the ship and take any valuable item they would lay their hands own. However, Ceasar’s partnership with the sailor didn’t last long. It was torn apart by a woman who they both had interests. They had captured this woman on one of their piracy activities. This disagreement led to Ceasar killing the sailor friend. He then used the acquired wealth to build his grand piracy business. He merged with the Blackbeard to, apparently train on the Queen Annes Revenge. While working with Blackbeard, they were attacked by the Royal Navy and captured by Lieutenant Robert Maynard. He was charged in Virginia, found guilty of piracy and hanged. Tales have it that Ceasar and his sailor buried their treasures in Elliot Key.[5][6]

Bartholomew Roberts

Bartholomew Roberts

Bartholomew Roberts born John Roberts on May 17, 1682, is also another little known but notorious pirate of all time. He was born in Wales and had his marine life at the tender age of thirteen. He worked in a slave ship named Princess, which transported slaves from West Africa to the new world. Being the second officer in the boat, Roberts was indeed an expert in the sailing industry. Surprisingly, Roberts was not a pirate at first but a legit sailor in the slave trade industry. However, during one of his voyages to West Africa in 1719, his ship was captured by pirates led by Howell Davis who was of Welsh origin just like Roberts. Roberts and his crew members joined the crew on a condition that he gets a higher job than the rest. Howell Davies started befriending Roberts when he realized that the latter was also a Welsh. He confided and trusted him.

However, six weeks later, Davis was killed, and Roberts took over as the captain and set off on a revenge journey to avenge his friend. He robbed a Portugal bound trade Marchant ship that was full of treasure. However, some of his crew members led by Walter Kennedy stole part of the treasure and ran away. Furious, Roberts put measures in place to prevent the same incident happening in the future. Any new member was made to swear by the set rules, and members of Irish origin were never given any top job. Following the incident, Robert pirated, even more, harder to amass the lost treasures. He acquired new weapons and added his number of men. He was a great enemy of Barbados and Martinique. Roberts was shot dead on February 10, 1722, and a total of 152 pirates arrested, tried and convicted of piracy. It is believed that Roberts acquired over four hundred ships during his short-lived piracy career.[7]

Henry Every

Henry Every

Henry Every is a notorious pirate who made his name during the golden age of piracy. He was born on 20th October 1659 in England. Initially, Every worked as a privateer in warships when war erupted between England and France in 1688. Also, he worked as a sailor in merchant’s vessels. He became the first officer in a privateer vessel named Charles II in 1694. Infuriated by mistreatment by their commanders, Every and other privateers aboard the ship killed the captain and took over the boat and renamed it, Fancy. This incident marked the start of Every’s piracy life. He took off to Madagascar, which was a hotbed for pirates operating the Indian ocean.

In 1965, Every had acquired enough number of men to help him in piracy. He attacked Fateh Mohammed and made away with a whopping estimate of 60,000 British pounds worth of treasure and ran to the Caribbean another piracy hotbed at that time. However, Every had become the most wanted pirate in the world by the European nations. Gov.Nicholas Trott tipped them to the authorities, but luckily he escaped, and the same time he vanished from the piracy history. According to history, Every returned to England with his treasures but later lost it and died a poor man between the years 1696 and 1699.[8][9]

Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny is one of the fearless and vivacious female pirates of all time. Born in the 17th century, Bonny grew up to be the most feared girl who fought other men. Her father, who was a lawyer by profession, is said to have been a wealthy man who loved Anne. However, when Anne defied her father’s wish of marrying a wealthy man and instead, married a poor man at the age of sixteen. Together with her husband named James Bonny ran off and started a new life in New Providence. Here James bonny helped the local authorities capture pirates and earned little to support his family.

Ironically, Anne turned to piracy after meeting Calico Jack in 1718. She out-performed Jack and become the most wanted female pirate in the Carribean. A bounty was placed on her head, and in 1720 Anne was arrested, and her piracy career ended. Her crew members were hanged to death. Anne and a fellow female pirate named Mary Read were sentenced to life in prison on accounts that they were both pregnant at the time of trial.[10][11]

Sir Henry Morgan

Sir Henry Morgan

Sir Henry Morgan is one of the legendary pirates who were privateers before piracy. Born on January 25, 1635, Morgan was a Welsh privateer who became famous for Piracy. He started as an officer attached to Cromwell in 1655 and was part of the failed attack on San Domingo. He later moved to Jamaica and worked closely with his uncle, who was Jamaica’s governor. While in Jamaica, Sir Henry became successful as a privateer making him the wealthiest man at that time.

This vast wealth made him acquire immunity from the governor. Following his successful campaigns, he moved up the ranks and was finally appointed the commander in chief managing 36 ships and eighteen hundred men by 1670. He was arrested and moved to London for attacking and robbing Panama city in 1671. However, he went back to Jamaica and was appointed the governor in 1674. Sir Morgan spent the rest of his life in Jamaica as a politician and a sugarcane farmer. He died at the age of 53 on August 25, 1688.[12]

François L’Olonnais

François L’Olonnais

Born in 1639 as Jean David Nau, François was the most brutal buccaneer who mercilessly killed people he conquered. Born in France, he moved to the Caribbean as a servant at the age of ten. After years of serving his master, he moved out and joined Buccaneers in Saint Dominique. While at Dominique, he became Tortuga’s governor’s favorite and was given a vessel to manage. His hatred for Spaniards saw him wreck many Spanish ships and killed anyone aboard those vessels.

He was also good at organizing successful land attacks. However, in 1663 his ship plundered. François and his crew escaped but were soon attacked by Spanish soldiers. Cunning François cheated death by covering himself in a pool of blood and pretended to be dead. He went back to Tortuga and recruited more men and embarked on a revenge mission. Unfortunately, his piracy career came to an end in 1668 when Indians brutally killed him.[13][14]

Francis Drake

Francis Drake

Francis Drake is regarded as a superhero in his home country because of how he protected his homeland tooth and nail. However, the Carribean countries know him as a notoriously brutal pirate and a slave trader. Born in 1540 in Devon, England Drake grew up to be a skilled mariner. His exceptional skills earned him a favorite spot from Queen Elizabeth I. He brought many riches, including slaves to England through his successful attacks on Spanish Vessels. Drakes deadly attacks made Portugal and Spain join forces and place four million euros bounty for his head. He died of dysentery while trying to attack Spanish ships in Puerto Rico in 1596.[15][16]

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