KIDSGAZETTE

Meet 3 of America's gnarliest pirates

Special to The Gazette
Special to The Gazette

When you think of pirates, you probably picture a swashbuckling, dirty, thieving man of the sea.

But in reality, most pirates who visited the shores of America were normal dads and husbands looking for an easy way to get rich quick. They wanted to pillage and then go home to spend their booty. Many, unwelcome by the British, found that home in the American Colonies.

Only pirates from a small slice of American history, about 1716 to 1726, “fit the legend” of colorful, rebellious pirates, according to Humanities Magazine, which is published by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.

Maybe the most famous of those quintessential pirates was Blackbeard, whose actual name was Edward Teach and much less cool-sounding. (If you’ve seen Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Blackbeard is Jack Sparrow’s enemy in the fourth movie.) Other notorious seafarers included Bartholomew Roberts and Anne Bonny. Here’s details of their lives from Encyclopaedia Britannica.

• Edward Teach: This black-bearded pirate was first heard of in 1716. A year later he took over the 40-gun warship known as “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” and started terrorizing the coasts of Virginia, the Carolinas and the Caribbean. He eventually made camp in a North Carolina inlet until the lieutenant governor of the state sent the British Navy over to kill him. They chopped off his head and put it on the front of his ship. Legend has it he buried a great treasure before his death, but it’s never been found.

• Bartholomew Roberts: Black Barty was born in Wales, a country in the United Kingdom in Europe. In his pirating days, which ended when he died at sea in 1722, he plundered more than 400 ships — more than almost any other pirate. Proving it’s never too late to live your dreams, he became a pirate in his late 30s and was soon a captain. He even designed a flag for himself, that showed a huge image of him holding a sword between two skulls.

• Anne Bonny: Anne Bonny was an Irish girl who immigrated to South Carolina with her parents as a kid. When her dad tried to marry her off to a local guy, she was not interested and married John Bonny instead, a sailor who took her to the Bahamas and became a spy for the government there. She soon fell in love with a pirate named Calico Jack, who desperately wanted to marry her — but John Bonny refused to get a divorce, so Anne abandoned him to roam the seas with her pirate lover. It was odd to have a woman on a ship — they were supposedly bad luck — but legend has it that Anne Bonny was so fierce none of the men onboard dared question her presence. She lived to an old age.

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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