Bahamas archipelago and New Providence island on a map
For effective and successful sea robbery, not only corsair ships and experienced crews are needed. After their raid, pirate ships may need repairs, corsairs need treatment and rest, and besides, they must be able to guarantee the sale of their production. The filibusters needed a new base - and it appeared, this time on one of the Bahamas.
Bahamas: discovery and colonization
The Bahamas archipelago includes 29 large and 660 small islands, as well as 2000 coral reefs located 1300 km from Florida to Haiti. The total area of all these islands 13 938 sq km is approximately the same as that of the island of Jamaica.
Bahamas on a map of the Caribbean
The largest island of the archipelago is Andros, but we are much more interested in New Providence, where the city of Charleston was founded in 1666, which was soon renamed Nassau (now it is the capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas). Other large islands - Big Bahama, Bimini, Inagua, North Eleuthera, Cat Island, Long Island, San Salvador, Aklins. Currently inhabited are 40 Bahamas.
The Bahamas archipelago was discovered by Columbus during his first expedition, and the island of Watling (San Salvador) became the first land of the New World that Europeans saw, it happened 12 October 1492 year.
Banknote in 1 dollar with the image of Christopher Columbus, Commonwealth of the Bahamas
A coin in denominations of 5 dollars dedicated to the entry of Christopher Columbus to the island of San Salvador - the first land he discovered in the New World
The indigenous Indian population of the archipelago was destroyed by the Spaniards in the XVI century. But Spain did not have the resources to colonize the Bahamas - the settlements they founded in 1495 were abandoned after 25 years. Therefore, from 1629 in the Bahamas, English colonies began to appear (the first - on the island of Eleuthera, it was founded by immigrants from the settlements of Bermuda).
1 On November 1670, King Charles II Stewart granted the Bahamas to the six lords who owned Carolina, who appointed the governor of the new colony.
New corsairs base in the Bahamas
The first of the British governors of the Bahamas, who decided to issue letters of letters of marque, was Robert Clark (1677-1682). In 1683, his letters of marque were declared illegal, Clark was fired, but the new governor, Richard Lilburn, unable to fight against filibusters on his own, was forced to compromise with them.
In March 1683, the English captain Thomas Payne, at the head of a small corsair squadron, looted the Spanish city of San Augustin (Florida). He delivered the captured prey to the island of New Providence of the Bahamas archipelago.
This fall, Samuel Jones in the Isabella frigate and Richard Carter in the Mariant sloop left New Providence Harbor and in April 1684 robbed the Spanish port of Tampico. The captain's friends were out of luck: on the way back, their ships were intercepted by the squadron commanded by Andres Ochoa de Zarate. The Cuban authorities used these raids as a pretext for a return expedition against New Providence. The Spaniards were led by Juan de Larco, who, on 18 on January 1684, captured the main city of this island - Charleston, taking the booty on 20 thousand pounds, he took many captive colonists to Havana.
In December 1686, a new batch of settlers arrived on New Providence Island: not from Bermuda, but from Jamaica, a sloop arrived here to land a new batch of colonists. The captain of the ship that delivered the colonists, Thomas Bridges, was elected "president" of the island. Then the construction of the first fort was started. Bridges later admitted that “explicit pirates” were based on the island at that time - John Terber, Thomas Wooley and Christopher Goff, who did not ask him for permission to operate, and did not have the strength to “expel them from the island”. The situation was resolved in April 1688, when captains Sprague and Lanham sent to New Providence by the Jamaican authorities arrested all suspected illegal and unauthorized activities.
New Providence Island, medieval map
Enchanted Island New Providence
Apparently, the climate in the Caribbean in those days was such that any newly appointed official (the governor of at least Tortuga, at least Port Royal) immediately had an irresistible desire to organize a predatory expedition against Spanish cities, or at least to extradite a privateer from one of the corsairs certificate. The governors of the island of New Providence and Nassau did not even try to resist this “magic”.
After joining the throne of William III, New Providence was appointed Governor of Cadwallader Jones, who "very caressed those pirates who came to Providence." In addition, he was caught selling gunpowder to pirates and refusing to investigate the “theft” of 14 guns from the arsenal. In every possible way favoring the pirates, Jones without trial or trial threw into the prison honest settlers dissatisfied with his rule. As a result, in January 1692, the colonists rebelled and arrested Jones. But in February of that year
“Some desperate robbers, pirates and others gathered in a rebellious ignorant crowd ... with the help of weapons saved the governor, proclaimed him again and restored to the despotic power he occupied. ”
Parrot Pirate Tin Figure
Jones was fired in 1694, when the lords of the Bahamian archipelago appointed a new governor, Nicholas Trott. It was he who renamed the restored city of Charleston to Nassau (this is the hereditary title of William III - Willem van Oranje-Nassau). It was under this governor that the famous pirate Henry Avery (Bridgman) arrived in Nassau in April 1696. This captain on the Fancy 46 cannon ship (with a crew of 113 people) was piracy in the Indian Ocean, taking there a huge boot in 300 thousand pounds. They even said that, in addition to the fabulous “prize,” Fatu’s daughter of the Great Mughal was on board the Gang-i-Sawai ship he had captured. The fate of this girl is similar to the fate of the famous "Persian Princess" Stenka Razin. According to one version, Avery raped and killed her, according to another - at first “married” and only then killed.
Trott later made excuses because he was forced to give refuge to the pirates because there were only 60 people under his command at that time. However, in August of this year, John Dan, a member of the Fancy crew, testified that “the people of Avery collected 20 piastres per person and captain 40 to transfer to the governor, not including elephant tusks and some other goods worth about 1000 pounds ". Another pirate, Philip Middleton, confirmed this information. It turned out that the pirate ship was bought from Avery Trott and the merchant Richard Tagliaferro. After that, the corsairs, sharing the booty, tried to “legalize” in the colonies of North America and Bermuda. So, Avery and 19 of his subordinates bought the Sea Flower ship, on which they reached Boston. From there, Avery moved to Ireland, then to Scotland, where his tracks are lost. Another group of pirates (23 people) acquired a sloop, and went on it to Carolina.
As a result, in November 1696, Mr. Trott was fired, and Nicholas Webb, who, according to North American Customs Inspector Edward Randolph, "was no better than Trott or Jones," was appointed in his place. And the governor of Boston believed that Webb "followed in the footsteps of his predecessor Trott, who ... was the largest pirate broker in America."
Pirate ship in Nassau, illustration
"Crazy" pirates of the island of New Providence
In 1698, the Bahamian captain Kelly robbed not the Spanish ship, but the Endeavor ship from Jamaica. This was already too much, and Webb instructed his deputy Reed Elding to find and arrest Kelly in the sea. Instead, Elding hijacked another British vessel, the Bahama Merchant, which, “on the blue eye” was declared abandoned, which allowed the ship to be recognized as a “legitimate prize”. Even when the owner of the Bahamas Merchant sent an official complaint to the Governor of Jamaica, in which Webb was named a pirate, and the crew of this ship testified against Elding, the court did not return the ship to him. He just changed the wording, recognizing the ship as “abandoned and floating on the surface of the cargo” - and the “Bahama Merchant” moved from capturing Elding to the English king.
But when the pirates captured the ship “Sweepstake”, owned by Webb and a certain Mr. Jeffries, the same Elding, on the orders of the governor, immediately began to search for “chaos and scumbags.” As a result, the famous corsairs were arrested - Unk Gikas, Frederick Phillips, John Floyd, Hendrick van Hoven (who at that time was considered the "main pirate of the West Indies"). They were accused of sailing "under the bloody flag ... like ordinary pirates and robbers" ("the blood-red flag tells us that this brig is our pirate ship" - article Filibusters and buccaneers, remember?), convicted of capturing one sloop and burning another, and hanged 30 on October 1699.
Illustration in the collection of pirate novels by Gustave Emar
The corsairs of Tortuga and Port Royal, as a rule, abided by the “rules of the game” and did not attack the ships of their compatriots (French and English, respectively). New Providence Island pirates often ignored these “conventions.” So, the famous pirate captain Benjamin Hornigold (a very serious man, Edward Teach himself was his assistant at one time) was even removed from his post by his team because he did not want to attack the English sloop. But he was released “in a good way” - on a still captured ship, along with 26, the faithful corsairs who remained to him.
In general, the Bahamian pirates were so “frostbitten” and uncontrollable that not only the Spaniards began to fight them, but also the authorities of other British colonies - Jamaica, Bermuda, South Carolina, Virginia. Bermuda Governor Samuel Day, for example, sent a squadron of 12 ships against them.
In October 1701, who replaced Webb as governor of the Bahamas, Elias Hasket tried to bring to trial the familiar Reed Elding. It ended with the fact that the speaker of the local assembly, John Warren, instead of Elding arrested the chairman of the vice admiralty court, Thomas Walker. An “indiscriminate” new governor was sent to New York by the nearest passing ship. Before that, money and property were carefully “confiscated” from him.
Nassau Pirate Republic
The outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713) gave the opponents of Great Britain the right to inflict a serious blow on Nassau. Two frigates under the command of captains Blas Moreno Mondragon and Claude Le Chenet landed Spanish soldiers and French filibusters, the fort was destroyed, 14 small ships were captured, 22 guns, and the new governor, Ellis Lightwood, was among the prisoners. In 1706, another Providence was dealt a blow to New Providence - and most English colonists left the troubled island. But the filibusters, against whom the blow was dealt, remained. Until 1718, Britain virtually lost control of the Bahamas.
1713 became a landmark for the island of New Providence, because, after the war for the Spanish inheritance ended, hundreds of privates who were left out of work left for Nassau, turning into ordinary pirates.
Pirate, Painted Tin Miniature, 18th Century
According to 1713, there were more than 1000 filibusters in the Bahamas at that time. Only three corsair captains were in some contact with the British authorities: Barrow and Benjamin Hornigold, who "appointed" themselves as "governors" of New Providence and Philip Coquray from the island of Harbor Island. The rest did not bind themselves even with the slightest conventions.
Pirate with a gun, tin figurine, XVIII century
As for civilians, it is known from the report of the Bermuda Governor Henry Pallin (1714) to London that only about two hundred families “living in a state of complete anarchy” lived in the Bahamas at that time.
But those "businessmen" who were associated with the purchase of the loot and the organization of "pleasant rest" of the pirates in Nassau prospered.
West Indies Bordel, engraving
In July 1716, the Governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, wrote to the new King George I:
“On the island of New Providence, a pirate nest is being created. If the pirates receive the expected replenishment due to various rabble from Campeche Bay, from Jamaica and from other places, that is likely they will pose a serious danger to British trade if timely measures to suppress them are not taken. ”
In the summer of 1717, he again asked the government to expedite the dispatch
"Sufficient forces to these shores to protect trade, and especially to the Bahamas to expel the pirates from where they arranged a common meeting place, and seem to look at these islands as their own."
Then, the Governor of South Carolina Robert Johnson also made a similar request to London, who reported that his colony was actually blocked from the sea flotilla Edward Tich.
Edward Teach, Blackbeard, engraving
Captain Matthew Manson writes in 1717 to the Trade and Plantation Board that New Providence is the base of the famous pirate captains - Benjamin Hornigold, Edward Teach, Henry Jennings, Samuel Burgess, White.
The list is far from complete, since other sources also mention pirate captains such as Charles Wayne, Samuel Bellamy (Black Sam), John Rackham, Howell Davis, Edward England (Seager), Stead Bonnet, Christopher Condon.
As a result of all these appeals, on 5 of September 1717, George I issued a proclamation addressed to the pirates of the Bahamas archipelago, which promised forgiveness to those who, prior to 5 of September 1718, “voluntarily surrender to one of the secretaries of state in Great Britain or to the governor in overseas possessions” .
In Nassau, this document was delivered by the son of Bermuda Governor Benjamin Bennett. 5 captains then decided to take advantage of the royal amnesty, the most famous of which were Henry Jennings and Benjamin Hornigold.
But the former subordinate of Hornigold - Edward Teach, who later became known as the "Black Beard", did not obey the authorities.
Ray Stevenson in the role of Edward Teach, TV series “Black Sails”, 2016. It was this pirate who served as the prototype of Captain Flint from Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island” (in this novel, there is a replica that Blackbeard is “a real baby compared to Flint” ").
Edward Teach, Blackbeard
This corsair was born in Bristol in 1680. His real name is Drummond. Many believe that his first nickname is Teach (“teacher”, “master” - from the English word teacher), he got because he began his career as a naval officer, having risen to the rank of an instructor teaching novice nautical affairs. It is believed that he fell on the Caribbean during the war for the Spanish inheritance. The origin of the name of his famous ship, “Revenge of Queen Anne” (in Britain, this war was also called the “Queen Anne War”), is also associated with this circumstance. Some believe that, at first, he thus pretended to be unaware of the end of the war. It would hardly help him very much, but just in case. When it was already impossible to ignore the death of Queen Anne, Teach did not change the name of his ship, which had already become widely known, on the mast of which he raised not the notorious Jolly Roger, but his own flag: on a black canvas - a skeleton piercing a red heart with a spear, and an hourglass.
Flag of Queen Anne’s Revenge
Many merchants refused resistance when they saw this terrible flag. This was facilitated by the fact that Teach never killed those who surrendered to him without a fight. But those who tried to resist, were killed without any pity.
Edward Tich earned his fame as a bloodthirsty and ruthless pirate largely because he “could not drink” - under the influence of alcohol, he became cruel and practically did not control his behavior.
Edward Teach, Pewter Figurine
As we recall, Tich began his career as a corsair on the ship of Benjamin Hornigold - in 1716. Holyfield was still not a pirate, but a privatier, but when the war ended, and his privatiry certificate was canceled, "could not stop." After this pirate accepted the amnesty of George I, Teach left him. Then he took the nickname "Blackbeard" (eyewitnesses claim that before the fight he wove burning wicks into his beard), and began to pirate on his own.
Soon the number of ships of his squadron increased to four. However, in the future he “optimized” his fleet: he got rid of the “ballast” by landing half of the crew ashore and leaving himself only two ships. For a while, Teach settled on the shore - with his friend Charles Eden, the governor of Bath (North Carolina), who even found him a wife - a certain Mary Ormond. There is evidence that the pirate was going to settle down, build a house and engage in sea trade. But Virginia Governor Alexander Sportswood, who was informed of the countless treasures that Tych allegedly stores on his ship, sent Lieutenant Maynard to catch him.
On November 22 on November 1718, disguised as a merchant, Maynard's ship, in whose hold numerous soldiers were hiding instead of goods, went to the Blackbeard ship. The temptation was too great for a pirate: he attacked Maynard, and was killed during a boarding battle.
The last fight of Blackbeard
It was reported that before his death, Edward Teach managed to get five bullet and 20 (according to other sources - 25) stabbed and chopped wounds.
No special values were found on Tich’s ship, it angered Maynard so much that he ordered the dead pirate to be cut off his head, which was hung on the bowsprit of his ship, and the corpse was thrown into the sea. A popular legend claims that before drowning, a headless body swam around the ship 7 times. 13 captured pirates were hanged in Williamsburg.
5 dollars coin with image of Edward Teach, Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Edward Teach, Blackbeard, Commonwealth of the Bahamas brand
Former Corsair Woods Rogers and his fight against pirates
But back to the island of New Providence. 26 July 1718 A squadron of five ships under the command of the new Governor of the Bahamas - former corsair Woods Rogers, approached Nassau harbor. Seeing government ships, Captain Charles Wayne ordered to set fire to the French ship he captured and, defiantly raising the black flag, went to sea. Then Edward England went to the shores of Africa. The rest chose to stay and see what would happen next. There was little good for them: the next day a notice was published on the introduction of the “military law” on the island and an inventory of the cargoes of ships in the harbor began. A garrison was placed in the fort, squadrons were formed to "hunt" for pirate ships. As a result, according to Rogers himself, many "were looking for an opportunity to capture boats at night and escape on them." Captain John Oger, who received an amnesty, again engaged in piracy, his ship attacked and robbed two trading sloops. Former “colleagues” - Hornigold and Cochraim, who successfully completed this task, were sent to capture him. Ten captured pirates were hanged in Nassau. In addition, by the end of the year, 13 pirates were sent for trial to England. In May 1719, Capt. John (according to other sources - Jack) voluntarily surrendered to prisoner Rackham, nicknamed "Calico Jack" ("Cotton Jack" - by the name of a special kind of fabric that was brought from the Indian port of Calicut). Historians argue about the origin of this nickname: according to the first version, Rackham began his career with contraband of this fabric, according to the second - he always wore clothes from this fabric.
Monument to Woods Rogers, Nassau
Rackham was previously the quartermaster of the ship Charles Vane (who the quartermaster and his duties on the corsair’s ship was told in the article The Golden Age of Tortuga Island), which he replaced as captain.
Captain Rackham ("Calico Jack")
The fact is that Charles Wayne in the West Indies was known not only for his cruelty, but also for his greed, which reached the point that when he shared the booty, he deceived his own team (which, to put it mildly, was categorically not welcomed on the ships of the corsairs). As a result, he was even once removed from the position of captain, which was occupied just by Rackham. But Wayne was lucky: he was appointed captain of a new ship captured as a prize.
That’s how Charles Vane was watched by Black Sails
5 denomination coin depicting Charles Wayne, Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Chintz Jack and his Amazons
Anne Bonnie, Mary Reid and Rackham, Illustration Chris Collingwood
Rackham piracy not bad (19 place in the rating of the most successful pirates according to the Forbes magazine from 2008), but most of all he became famous not because of naval feats, but because two women served as men on his ship, dressed as men and Anne Bonnie (Cormac).
So we see Mary Reid and Ann Bonnie on an old engraving
Mary Reid and Anne Bonnie on a postage stamp Jamaica
Ann was an Irish woman whose family moved to South Carolina when she was 5 years old (in 1705). From the house of her father, a wealthy planter, with some sailor she fled to the island of New Providence, where she met with Rackham. On his ship, Ann initially hid that she was a woman, but after pregnancy and childbirth (she left the child on the beach), she stopped hiding.
Calico Jack and Anne Bonnie in the series Black Sails
With the new governor (Woods Rogers) Rackham did not get along. It is said that Rogers accused him and Bonnie of preparing to assassinate his beloved, and, as a punishment for both, ordered Rackham to carve Ann himself. That same night, the insulted lovers persuaded their old team to seize the Carluw sloop in Nassau harbor, on which the island of New Providence, which had become inhospitable, had left forever. Soon, Mary Reid crossed over from another pirate ship to their ship.
Mary Read killing her antagonist, engraving
But such a romantic beauty was seen by the audience of the movie “The Adventures of Mary Reed,” 1961
Mary was born in London and was older than Anne by 15 years. Her fate, apparently, was greatly influenced by the fact that, as an illegitimate child, from early childhood was forced to portray her dead brother (in order to ward off suspicions from her mother). At the age of 15, she left for Flanders, where, under the guise of a man, she entered a cadet in an infantry regiment, then continued serving in the cavalry. Here she fell in love with one of her colleagues, whom she married. After the death of her husband, Mary again dressed as a man and got on a Dutch ship leaving for the West Indies. On the way to the Caribbean, this ship was captured by pirates, to which she switched as a crew member - this happened in 1717. Later, either Rackham and Ann Bonnie captured her ship, or vice versa. But, in the end, they all ended up on the same ship, where Ann no longer hid her gender, and Mary - was still pretending to be a man. Everything was finally clarified after Ann Bonnie began to show her too frank signs of attention. These ladies were not lesbians, therefore, finding out what was happening, they became just friends.
Curious, by the way, история flag of the ship wreckham. At first it was a typical Jolly Roger, but then the sailors began to say that the crossbones on this canvas are the very ones from which Ann and Mary were created. Rackham took this as a mockery, and ordered two curved knives to be drawn instead.
Jack Rackham Flag
In 1720, Rackham’s ship was hijacked by a government ship only because the whole crew was drunk - including the captain, but excluding these women and another sailor who tried to organize resistance.
Last fight Ann Bonnie and Mary Reid, illustration
On the island of Jamaica, before being executed, Rackham asked for a meeting with Ann. She told him:
“If you fought like a man, you would not have to die like a dog!”
Reid and Bonnie said they were pregnant, so their execution was delayed until they had children. Mary, who, according to many researchers, was still not Wreckham’s mistress (with such a hot Irish “girlfriend” like Anne Bonnie, it’s somehow unsafe to spin other cupid girls, especially on the same ship), she died of a a fever in a Jamaican prison. It is known about Anne that in April 1721, she gave birth to a boy. There is no reliable information about her future fate.
Anne Bonnie, Commonwealth of the Bahamas brand
Such a fun brand of the Turks and Caicos Islands: Mary Reid, Anne Bonnie, Calico Jack Rackham with a gang of pirates after robbing the ship "Bella Christina"
Of course, robbery in the Caribbean did not stop immediately after the British authorities took control of Nassau. According to the calculations of the same Rogers, about 2000 pirates continued to attack ships in the Caribbean at that time. Among them was swimming such a “hero” as John Roberts (Bartholomew Roberts, Black Bart).
He will be described in the next article in the series.