Stede Bonnet

English Landowner, Sailor, & Pirate Wanna-be

Born: Unknown

Died: 1718

Stede Bonnet, "The Gentleman Pirate", had been an educated and wealthy landowner before turning to piracy. After running into Blackbeard the pirate along the American coast, he was invited to sail his ship the Revenge along with the Blackbeard's own Queen Anne's Revenge. Blackbeard soon realized that Bonnet was a poor leader and an incompetent sailor. He appointed another pirate to command Revenge, and forced Bonnet to become a "guest" aboard QAR, where he remained, a virtual prisoner, until she wrecked six months later.

During that winter of 1717-1718, the QAR and Revenge cruised the Caribbean, taking prizes. Along the way, Blackbeard decided to keep two more smaller captured vessels. When he sailed northward up the American coast in the Spring of 1718, he was in command of four vessels and over three hundred pirates.

Blackbeard's reign of terror climaxed in a week-long blockade of the port of Charleston, S.C. in late May 1718. One week later, the QAR was lost at Beaufort Inlet. One of the smaller vessels in Blackbeard's flotilla, the 10 gun sloop Adventure, was lost the same day while trying to assist the stranded flagship.

Before leaving Beaufort Inlet, Blackbeard marooned about twenty-five disgruntled pirates on a deserted sandbar, stripped Bonnet's sloop the Revenge of her provisions, and absconded with much of the accumulated booty aboard another smaller vessel. Bonnet rescued the marooned men and, with them, resumed his lawless ways aboard the Revenge, which he re-named the Royal James.

In October 1718, Bonnet and his crew were captured near present-day Wilmington, North Carolina, and taken to Charleston, where they were tried for piracy. All but four were found guilty and hung that November.

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