Anne Bonny

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An Irish-American woman pirate named Anne Bonny operated in the Caribbean Sea in the early eighteenth century. She was regarded as one of only two female pirates in the Western world, along with Mary Read, another member of her company. By leading a daring and unconventional lifestyle, she caught the interest of the authorities, writers, press, and society of her time. She established a reputation for herself as one of the most infamous pirates of her era during her brief but fruitful career in piracy. Even though she never held the helm of her own ship, the fact that she was a female pirate during a time when Western society frowned upon women deviating from the social roles that were given to them helped her establish an enduring legacy.

Table of Contents

Early Youth & Life

She was born in Ireland’s Kinsale, in the County Cork region. It’s believed that she was born sometime between 1697 and 1700. Her mother was a housewife, and her father was a barrister. Her mother’s name was Mary Brennan, and her father’s name was William McCormac (eventually abbreviated to Cormac).
Her father attempted to leave Ireland in order to avoid his legal wife and her family because their relationship was not official. He first relocated to London, where he established a law firm and began dressing her as a male.

When her father’s actual wife found out about his infidelity, she made it known and made sure he didn’t get anything from his estate. His father was unable to continue living in London as a result. He made the choice to relocate his family to the New World in America from England.

Her father moved to the then-province of Carolina in the modern-day United States of America after leaving London with her and her mother. Her father overcame early setbacks to create a prosperous company and acquire a farm. When she was twelve years old, her mother died.

She had a reputation for having a hot disposition. According to some reports, she once killed a servant girl with a knife in a fit of rage. She is also alleged to have stabbed a man who attempted to sexually assault her; as a consequence, he spent several weeks in the hospital.

Anne Bonny: The Buccaneer

She wed James Bonny, a petty pirate, at the age of sixteen. James Bonny wed her in order to benefit from her riches, but her father disapproved of their union. She was kicked out of her father’s home and given the boot.

She and her spouse relocated to Nassau on the Bahamas’ New Providence island. Her spouse worked as an informant for Woodes Rogers, the governor of the Bahamas, and assisted him in putting a lot of pirates in jail.

In Nassau’s neighborhood bars, she started hanging out with lots of pirates. During this time, she fell in love with infamous pirate John “Calico Jack” Rackham. The “Revenge” was a pirate ship captained by John Rackham.

Her spouse was given money by John Rackham in exchange for Anne’s divorce, but he declined. By stealing the William sloop from the Nassau harbor, she and Rackham left Nassau along with Rackham’s company. According to some reports, Mary Read, another female pirate, was also a member of the Rackham pirate group when William was commandeered.

She joined Rackham’s crew of pirates, which was extremely uncommon at the time due to societal mores and the widespread perception among pirates that having women on board a ship would be unlucky for the ship, captain, and crew. She reportedly received a request from Rackham to pose as a male on the ship. Her real gender was only known to fellow female pirate Mary Read and Rackham.

According to some reports, she never concealed her gender from Rackham’s sloop’s crew, but she did dress like a man during raids and battles. She is said to share Rackham’s crew’s reputation for ruthlessness.

In the Caribbean, Rackham’s company persisted in conducting ship raids and other forms of piracy. On a ship at the water, she allegedly wed Rackham. In a wanted pirates circular that was published in “The Boston News-letter,” the only newspaper of British-occupied North American territories at the time, her name was mentioned as a wanted pirate.

An English privateer named Jonathan Barnet stumbled across Rackham’s sloop, William, close to Jamaican waters in October 1720. Barnet had been hired by Sir Nicholas Lawes, the governor of Jamaica, to capture pirates. Barnet chased the sailboat and called out to it when it came close. He claimed that the sloop’s crew was intoxicated and disobeyed orders to submit. After a short battle, Barnet was successful in capturing the sloop.

The pirate ship William’s 18 crew members were captured. They included Mary Read, Anne Bonney, and John “Calico Jack” Rackham. According to rumors, Anne Bonney and Mary Read fought vehemently with the Barnet boarding party because they weren’t as inebriated as the rest of the company.

Along with Rackham, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read, the pirate sloop William’s captured crew was brought to Jamaica, where Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes found them guilty, and condemned them to death by hanging. Due to the legal custom of the time, which prohibited the execution of pregnant women, Bonny and Read were saved from hanging. According to rumors, Bonny and Read both used their pregnancies as a justification for the governor to spare their lives.

While Read’s death in custody was brought on by difficulties with childbirth, Anne Bonny’s whereabouts remain unknown. Her execution or parole is not documented.

According to one story, she returned to Carolina after being freed thanks to her father’s influence. She had eight children after getting married to Joseph Burleigh, and lived the remainder of her life in secrecy in present-day South Carolina. This story claims that she passed away on April 25, 1782, at a very advanced age. One story has it that she passed away while imprisoned, while another has it that she managed to escape and resume her existence as a pirate on the high seas. These assertions are not supported by any proof.

Private life and impact

In the incredibly conservative British, English, and Irish societies of the sixteenth century, Anne Bonny represented a rebel who ventured to follow the adventurous path of a rogue pirate on the Caribbean high seas. She and Mary Read, another member of her crew, soon rose to fame as the only two female pirates known to the British at the time.

Many representations of Anne Bonny’s life and mythology have appeared in popular culture, including television shows, animated films, and motion pictures. Her persona and reputation have also inspired the creation of video game characters. Numerous writers have included references to her life and legend in their novels.

Estimated net worth

The estimated net worth of Anne Bonny is about $1 million.

Trivia

A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, written by Captain Charles Johnson and published in England in 1724, is the primary source of information about her existence. No one with the name Charles Johnson was mentioned as a ship’s captain at that time, so it is unknown who Captain Charles Johnson actually was.

There has been much discussion among academics about whether Captain Charles Johnson was a pen name used by English novelist Daniel Defoe, but no concrete proof has yet been discovered. Additionally, there is no information about her existence after being sent to a Jamaican prison in this book. After Rackham was given the death penalty, Johnson claims that she told him, “Had you battled like a man, you need not have been hang’d like a dog.”