A truly kick arse lady pirate
Born in Ireland in 1702, Anne Bonney was a fiery redhead who would grow up to be one of the most well known female pirates on the high seas. Her father moved the family to America when she was still very young, but sadly Anne’s mother died not long after they arrived in the New World. Setting up office as an attorney in Charleston, Anne’s father soon gave that up to become a merchant, which paid far better.
Anne was a fierce young lass, who apparently once stabbed a servant girl with a table knife for some perceived infraction. It was also said that she badly beat a man who tried to ‘lay with her against her will’.
When she was around 16-17 years of age (though her exact age at the time is not known) Anne fell in love with a penniless sailor called James Bonney, and was disowned by her father when they were married. Moving to the aptly names Pirates Republic, in New Providence Island, Nassau, her husband made a living handing in pirates to the authorities to collect the bounties on their heads. By this point Anne had had enough of being shackled to a pirate snitch and had fallen for a dashingly dressed pirate named ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, aptly named for the flash outfits he wore. Jack was captain aboard a pirate sloop called the Revenge.
Sailing out of Nassau, Anne and Calico Jack moved to the Cuba for a short time where she gave birth to a child, which by most accounts was left there. Calico Jack and Anne then sailed on, picking up a crew, which included another female pirate named Mary Read (but more about her another time), and going on to capture many smaller vessels and bring in a quite a bit of plunder.
Anne could drink, fight and curse like a trooper (or pirate!) but didn’t dress like a man on the Revenge, instead changing into men’s clothing when a battle was imminent. By 1720 Calico Jack, Anne and the crew of the Revenge had become well known as infamous pirates, and so the Governor put out the word to bring them in.
When they were finally caught, Calico Jack and most of the crew of the Revenge were drunk below decks, but Anne and Mary fought hard and held off their captors for a short time. At their trial they were sentenced to death by hanging, but both Anne and Mary ‘pleaded their bellies’ (meaning they were pregnant) and so their sentences were commuted. It’s believed Mary died in prison, possibly during childbirth, whereas not much is know of what happened to Anne. Some believe she reconciled with her father, who paid for her release from prison, and then she remarried but beyond that Anne Bonney remains a mystery. A truly kick arse lady pirate.