Dream Chaser

The year is 1723 and the condemned pirate, William Benton, awaits his appointment with death at Execution dock. To pass the time he recounts tales of his adventures to the naïve young journalist, Nathaniel Bagshaw, who hopes to publish a popular book on pirate histories.

Benton’s story begins in 1718, when the pirate stronghold of Nassau is under threat and its inhabitants are torn between accepting the King’s pardon or continuing their precarious life as sea rovers. Captain Gunnarsson and his crew choose the latter and are forced to flee a place they once called home. Their luck seems to change when they sight a Spanish galleon separated from the treasure fleet by a storm, but during the pursuit their ship, Dream Chaser, is engulfed by a sudden, eerie mist. When they emerge they find themselves no longer in known territories, but in unknown and mysterious lands. Now they are struggling for their lives as they attempt to return to familiar waters with or without the Spanish treasure.…

The Ballad of Captain Kidd

After checking his two pistols and tucking them in his belt, the defiant boatswain sneaked off towards the town gate, and, ignoring the cacophony of drums and bugles, merrily sang a rendition of the popular song Captain Kidd with slightly modified lyrics to himself.”

Captain William Kidd hanging in chains, National Maritime Museum, London

The Ballad of Captain Kidd also known more simply as Captain Kidd is an old English folk song about the infamous privateer turned pirate Captain William Kidd, who was hanged at Execution Dock in London for piracy on May 23, 1701. The song is listed in the Roud Folk Song Index (index number 1900), which is a database of around 250,000 references to nearly 25,000 songs collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world, compiled by Steve Roud, who is an expert on folklore and superstition.

The song was printed in Britain in 1701 within a month of Kidd’s death, finding its way to the colonies almost immediately, and narrates the rise and fall of the legendary pirate.…

Blackbeard

“Strike me tops’l! You mean old Ed Teach has gone to Davy Jone’s locker?” gasped the pirate.

General History of the Pyrates - Blackbeard_the_Pirate (1725)Most of the information we have available to us about the infamous and mysterious pirate known as Blackbeard is somewhat unreliable. Due to his estimated age when he met his death of between 35 and 40 years old, it is believed he was born circa 1680. What is certain is the date died – 22 November 1718. He was commonly known as Edward Teach or Thatch, but other spellings of his name include Thach, Thack, Tack, and Theach, but all these names might have been pseudonyms he used in order to protect the family name. The name Teach was mentioned in the Boston News-Letter of the time, but it may have been a spelling error. Other sources use the name Thatch, especially those who knew him personally. He was described by Henry Bostock, captain of the merchant sloop Margaret, which was taken off Crab Island near Anguilla, as being tall and thin and possessed of an immense black beard.…

Pirate ships

Pirates made use of many types of ships, in particular smaller versatile vessels which could navigate the shallow waters and shoals characteristic of the Caribbean. Bigger was not necessarily better as larger ships with their complex rigging and large area of canvas were more difficult to sail. Although the term ‘ship’ strictly applied to three-masted, fully rigged vessels, the word was often applied to sloops and brigantines at the time. The names applied to seafaring vessels have changed over time, but here the terms here are those used during the Golden Age of Piracy. During this period, ships were often defined by their type of rigging rather than the shape of their hull or number of masts. A lot of ships possessed at least some oars in the early 18th century, whether brigantines, sloops, or frigate-built ships, allowing for more versatility, especially when there was no wind. At the time, the term man-o’-war could be applied to any vessel of any size fitted for war.

The War of Spanish Succession

“In 1706, my older brother, Rupert, fought at the Battle of Ramillies in the Spanish War, and he’s never been the same since. He saw more bloodshed there than any man should witness in his lifetime.”

— Nathaniel Bagshaw

Sea Battle of Vigo Bay by anonymous (1702)The War of Spanish Succession was fought in Europe and the colonies between 1701 and 1714. The theatre of war in the Americas was known as Queen Anne’s War and involved a series of smaller wars fought by British colonists against the French and their native American allies.

In 1700 King Charles II, the last Spanish King of the House of Habsburg, died with no direct heir to take over the throne of Spain. Before he died, he had named his half sister’s grandson, the Duke of Anjou, Phillip of Bourbon, as his successor to the Spanish crown under the name Felipe V. Felipe was also in the line of succession to the French throne.…

What did pirates eat?

Ships at a harbour mole and a yacht sailing away by Willem van de Velde the Younger (1673)What did pirates eat? Anything they could get their hands on. Although fresh produce was scarce on long sea voyages, pirates didn’t usually spend as long at sea as the average sailor on a naval ship or merchantman. They would normally sail out from their base to seize there pray and return with their booty, where they could purchase fresh provisions. When no friendly port was available, food could be obtained by foraging on one of the many islands or even from plundering. After the fall of the pirate nest Nassau in 1718 and with the increasing pressure on pirates from the Royal Navy, their bases no longer existed and the sea rovers probably had to go for longer periods without fresh food.