Many people claim it was Anne Bonny who was one of just a few women pirates. She was an Irish pirate that became well known during the Golden Age of Piracy in the 1700’s. Some people claim that she is the most famous female pirate ever. The majority of what is known about her life is based on Captain Charles Johnson’s records who was also the author of “A General History of the Pyrates”. Pirate Anne’s exact birthdate is still unknown, but it is believed to be in around the year 1700 in County Cork, Ireland. Anne’s mother was Mary Brennan, who was a servant girl that got pregnant by her employer William Cormac, a lawyer that eventually left Ireland and took Anne with him. Keep reading below to learn who was the most famous female pirate.
Anne Bonny – Her Younger Life
When Anne’s father William Cormac left Ireland for London, he brought along Anne, his illegitimate daughter. He dressed her as a boy and called her “Andy” so he could train her as an attorney’s clerk. Years later, he moved to the Province of Carolina where Anne’s mother Mary Brennan was living. There, he purchased a plantation outside of Charleston, SC. When Anne was 12 years old, her mother passed away. Her father continued to work in law, but wasn’t successful in that field. However, he later started a merchant business and was able to amass a large fortune.
Anne Bonny – Young Adult
History says that Anne Bonny was a very attractive young lady. She had bright red hair and a fiery temper to go with it. It has been said that she once stabbed one of the servants in a fit of rage when she was just 13 years old. A few years later, Anne married James Bonny, a poor sailor. He had plans of taking over his father-in-law’s estate, but her father wasn’t fond of him and kicked her out for marrying him. She was so mad that she set fire to her father’s plantation. She and her husband moved to Nassau from 1714-1718, which was somewhat of a sanctuary for English pirates at that time.
Anne Bonny – Her New Love
During the summer of 1718, Governor Woodes Rogers came to Nassau, and James Bonny started working for him as an informant. James would report all pirate activity to the Governor, then he would have them arrested. Anne didn’t like her husband working for the Governor, and she became very unhappy with her marriage. Subsequently, she started socializing in the local taverns with pirates where she met John “Calico Jack” Rackham. He was the captain of the sloop named Revenge. The two fell in love instantly, and Rackham was so enamored with Anne that he offered Bonny’s husband money to give her a divorce, which he declined. However, Anne and Rackham snuck away together, and she became a crew member on his ship disguised as a man. Later, she became pregnant and they docked in Cuba so she could give birth to their son.
Anne Bonny – “Wanted Pirates”
Bonny, Rackham, and another famous female pirate named Mary Read spent many years sailing through the Jamaica waters capturing smaller vessels. Pirate Bonny always fought along men and was known to be strong and tough. Governor Rogers even named her as a “Wanted Pirate” in the newspaper. Bonny never directly commanded any ship, but worked alongside her husband as a crew member. In 1720, their ship was attacked. They fought very hard, but couldn’t hold off the troops. Once caught, Governor Lawes ordered Read and Bonny to be hanged. However, Read and Bonny begged for mercy as both ladies were pregnant. They did receive a temporary stay of execution until after they gave birth. Anne was released after she gave birth, but there is no evidence if she was executed or not.
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