Thursday, 2 January 2014

Women Pirates - Anne Bonny and Mary Read

There's a new TV series coming out soon called Black Sails, which will mix real historical characters with the characters of Treasure Island when Captain Flint was sailing the Caribbean with John Silver and the rest of the motley crew.
Among the historical characters is Anne Bonny. She married Calico Jack Rackham (her second husband) and fought alongside him on his ship the Revenge. Mary Read was also in the crew - and neither of them had to disguise their sex to be there.
A fairly successful career ended with capture and trial. Calico Jack was hanged, but Anne and Mary "pled their bellies"; in other words, they claimed they were pregnant so that they wouldn't be hanged until they gave birth. Mary Read died in prison, perhaps of jail fever, but Anne - disappeared. There is no record of her execution.
There is speculation that her father, a successful businessman, secured her release. Another theory is that the judge in the case took a fancy to her - and was later seen leaving the island of Jamaica, where she was tried, with a new young servant boy....

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