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Anne Bonney

(1697/8 - 1720?)
Anne Bonney Anne Bonny was born Anne Cormac in County Cork, Ireland. Mary Brennan, her mother was the daughter of a servant woman who had an affair with her employer, lawyer William Cormac. His wife soon discovered the affair and William Cormac, Mary Brennan, and a young Anne crossed the Atlantic to flee the scandal . They settled in Charleston, S.C.

Anne was soon bored with life on her father's plantation, and was drawn to a life of adventure. Before Anne was out of her teens she married James Bonney, a renegade seaman and sometimes pirate. At this time pirates frequented Charleston. James planned to steal William Cormac's land through the marriage but Anne's father disowned her before this could be done. Legend has it that in retaliation, Anne burned the plantation to the ground.

Thy fled to Nassau, the pirate haven. It was called New Providence back then. James proved a coward and a traitor, became a paid snitch for the governor. Anne preferred the company of the island's notorious pirates and women and soon distanced herself from James.

After meeting the pirate "Calico Jack" Rackham (nicknamed for his loud striped pants) she became romantically involved with him. He had just commandeered a ship full of liquor from his former boss, pirate captain Charles Vane. When James Bonney objected to the affair, he abducted Anne, brought her naked before the governor and charged her with the felony of deserting him. Calico Jack suggested instead putting Anne up for sale to the highest bidder because Anne was considered to be stolen property (a 'kinder' legal practice for divorce at the time). James got a court order forbidding Jack and Anne to see each other. Despite Jack's rather less-than-romantic proposal, Anne ran away with Calico Jack and joined his ship's crew, apparently disguised as a man.

There are many tales of her violent temper, Anne proved a daring and deadly fighter, using swords and pistols. Her violence began with her alleged stabbing murder of an English serving-maid while Anne was a teen on her father's plantation. While on shore in Nassau she became such an expert fencer. Once she publicly stripped her fencing instructor with her sword, and severely beat a man with a chair for making a pass at her. Who knows how much of this is fictional. Much of the tales of pirates and outlaws are exaggerated.

Her exploits at sea gained Anne the most notoriety. While raiding with Calico Jack, she developed a mutual attraction with Jack's lieutenant. 'He' turned out to be none other than Mary Read. It is rumored that they had a lesbian romance after revealing their gender to each other. They fought with even more courage than many the men, this they proved in their final battle. Both were known as bloodthirsty, daring female pirates.

A former pirate turned pirate-hunter, Captain Barnet, attacked Calico Jack's ship in 1720. Barnet caught Rackham and his crew. Attacking with cannon fire so thick the men hid below decks. Anne is said to have shouted, "If there's a man among ye, ye'll come out and fight like the men ye are to be." When this got no response, they were outraged by the men's cowardice. Anne and Mary shot the male pirates, killing one and wounding several including Jack Rackham. Only Anne Bonney and Mary Read stood their ground, fighting furiously. But despite Anne and Mary's ferocity, the pirates were captured.

At this time women had no rights whatsoever, however it was illegal to execute a pregnant woman so Anne and Mary, "plead their bellies," claiming to be pregnant. All were hanged, except for Anne and Mary. After the trial, Anne Bonney disappeared from the historical record. It is rumored she was hanged a year later, however other rumors were she was granted a reprieve, some even say she returned to her father, some say her husband. Even one ridiculous myth says she became a nun.


Anne Bonney
Bartholomew Roberts
Charles Vane
Edward Low

Edward Teach
Emanuel Wynne
Henry Every
Jack Rackham
Mary Read

Richard Worley
Stede Bonnet
Thomas Tew
Walter Kennedy
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