Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pirate of the Day: William Kidd

Years active: 1696-1701 Location: Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and off the east coast of North America.
Fate: Hung and gibbeted over the River Thames in London, where his body remained for over twenty years as a warning to those considering piracy as a profession.
Claim to fame: Originator of the idea of “buried treasure.”
Truthfully, the exploits of the legendary Captain Kidd were not very extraordinary.  Kidd participated in several small skirmishes with pirates and other vessels as a privateer commissioned by the British government, but none would have any substantial impact on history.  The legend of Captain Kidd, interestingly enough, really begins when it ends.  Throughout his career, many of his counterparts and superiors had suspected that Kidd had gone beyond the call of his letter of marque and dabbled in piracy on occasion.  When the evidence seemed overwhelming, English men-of-war were dispatched to bring him back to London.  Knowing what was to come, Kidd purportedly buried a vast treasure off the coast of New York on Gardiners Island as an insurance policy and a bargaining tool.  Unimpressed by  tales of buried treasure, the British court ordered Kidd to the gallows.  There, with a short drop and a sudden stop, his story ended and his legend began.

Taken from AOM

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