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Avery, Henry [known as Captain John Avery] (bap. 1659, d. 1696?), pirate, the son of John and Anne Evarie, was baptized on 23 August 1659 at Newton Ferrers, near Plymouth. He joined the Royal Navy and was a midshipman in the Rupert...

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Barry, Lording (bap. 1580, d. 1629)

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Barry, Lording (bap. 1580, d. 1629), playwright and pirate, was baptized on 17 April 1580 in St Laurence Pountney, St Laurence Pountney Lane, London, the fifth of eleven children of Nicholas Barry (d. 1607), citizen and fishmonger, and his second wife, Anne (...

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Robert C. Ritchie

Bonnet, Stede (d. 1718), pirate, may have been a soldier as he was given the title of major during his trial, where he was also treated as an educated gentleman by the officers of the court. The most that can at present be said about his family is that he is probably the ...

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Crab, John (c. 1280–c. 1352), pirate and merchant, was probably born in Muiden in Flanders. Active as a pirate from at least 1306, he was the most notorious of the Flemish privateers who preyed on English shipping during the Scottish War of Independence. His nephew ...

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Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596), pirate, sea captain, and explorer, was born about February or March 1540 in Crowndale, near Tavistock, Devon, the eldest of five known children of Edmund Drake (d. 1566) of Tavistock. Edmund's wife is unknown, though she may have been named ...

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Sir Francis Drake (1540–1596) by Jodocus Hondius? © Copyright The British Museum

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Eustace the Monk (c. 1170–1217) drawing [far right] Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

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Eustace the Monk (c. 1170–1217), Benedictine monk, sea captain, and pirate, was the son of Baudoin Busket, a lord of the county of Boulogne. According to his biography, Eustace studied black magic in Toledo, returned home to become a monk at the abbey of ...

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Samuel Pyeatt Menefee

Gow, John (1698–1725), pirate, was born either at Scrabster, near Thurso, or at Wick. Details of his background and upbringing are unknown until September 1699, when he moved with his merchant father's family to Stromness in the Orkney Islands. It is believed that ...

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Green, Thomas (1679/80–1705), seaman and pirate, of unknown parentage, was brother to John Green, a London attorney. In 1701, when his age was said to be twenty-one, Captain Green, commanding the frigate-built Worcester, chartered by Thomas Bowrey, weighed anchor for India to obtain a cargo of cowries, pepper, turmeric, and saltpetre. This was a ...

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Griffith, Piers (1568–1628), pirate, was probably born at Penrhyn in Caernarvonshire, the eldest son of Sir Rhys Griffith (d. 1580), MP and high sheriff of Caernarvonshire, and his third wife, Katherine, daughter of Peter Mostyn of Talacre. His father was a prominent figure in ...

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Gwyn, David (fl. 1588–1602?), poet and pirate, was doubtless of Welsh extraction, though his origins remain obscure. According to his one work published in 1588, Gwyn was a Spanish prisoner and a galley slave for nearly twelve years; he appears in Richard Topcliffe's...

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Halsey, John (1663?–1709?), privateer turned pirate, came from Boston, Massachusetts. Nothing is known about his parents or his early life. As commander of the brigantine Charles he received a commission from Governor Samuel Cranston of Rhode Island on 7 November 1704 to cruise against the French on the ...

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John Hawley the elder (c. 1350–1408) memorial brass by kind permission of Becky Wright Photos; St Saviour's Church, Dartmouth

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Hawley, John, the elder (c. 1350–1408), pirate, merchant, and administrator, of Dartmouth, Devon, was the younger son of the first John Hawley who settled in Dartmouth some time before 1340. Hawley was elected mayor for the first time in 1374—the beginning of a career which would make him the richest and most important man in ...

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Kidd, William (c. 1645–1701), pirate and privateer, was a Scot, by tradition born in Greenock, Renfrewshire, into the family of a Church of Scotland minister; however, the names of his parents are not known and his date of birth is derived from his age, about fifty-six, when he died. He does not appear in the historical record until 1689 when he was a member of a pirate crew brought into service by ...

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Mainwaring, Sir Henry (1586/7–1653), pirate and naval officer, was the second son of Sir George Mainwaring (d. 1628) MP, of Ightfield, Shropshire, and Anne (d. 1624), daughter of Sir William More MP, and his second wife, Margaret. The Mainwarings were well established in ...

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North, Nathaniel (d. in or after 1709), pirate, was born in Bermuda, the son of Nathaniel North (fl. 1680), a descendant of an indentured servant, living on crown lands at Tucker's Town. The earliest record of the younger North, who initially followed his father's trade of sawyer, or carpenter, is of his being one of those fitting out ...

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W. R. Meyer

revised by Randolph Cock

Rackam, John [nicknamed Calico Jack] (d. 1720), pirate, was quartermaster under Charles Vane, one of the leaders of the New Providence ‘pirate republic’, when, in November 1718, he challenged Vane's decision not to attack a French frigate in the Windward passage, and was elected captain in his place. Essentially a small-time and not particularly bloodthirsty pirate, who preyed mostly on fishing boats and small coastal vessels, his main claim to fame is that his ship was the one in which two female pirates, ...