Piracy: William Kidd

Privateers of the 16th and 17th centuries, ran successful trading businesses around the world.  These privateers attacked enemy ships, but were in the employ of many a government.  Any booty would be shared out with the government.

Captain Kidd was born in 1654 in Dundee, Scotland, the captain of the Antigua and married Sarah Bradley Cox Oort a wealthy widow.

In the 1690’s commissioned by the English government in defending American and English trade routes in his ship the ‘Blessed.’

In the September of 1696, left New York aboard the 32-gun ‘Adventure Galley’ with his crew of 150, bound for the Indian Ocean.

He sought out the pirate; one Robert Culliford, but mutiny was in the eyes of his crew, and Kidd was forced into a life of piracy.

In late January of 1698, the ‘Quedah’ merchant was sighted off the tip of India, and Kidd and his band of ruthless pirates captured her, seizing the cargo of silk, muslin, sugar, opium worth a cool £70,000.  The merchant ship was renamed the Adventure Prize, leaving his own leaking ship to sink to the bottom.

In April 1699 upon arriving in the West Indies, he was deemed a pirate… not what he expected.  Kidd negotiated a pardon from English Authorities, based on claims he had been forced into piracy by his mutinous crew.

On the 7th July 1699 New England Governor one Lord Richard Bellmont, one of Kidd’s investors ordered his arrest upon arrival in Boston.  He was clapped in irons and returned to England to face charges.

On the 8th May 1701, William Kidd was brought to trial on charges of murder and piracy.  On the 9th May, the court handed down a guilty verdict.

On the 23rd May 1701 William Kidd was hanged, his corpse placed in a gibbet at the mouth of the River Thames.  It was a warning to other so-called pirates, death awaits you, for your crimes.

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