The Ultimate List of Famous Pirates, Raiders, and Buccaneers:

The Power and Influence of History's Most Infamous Maritime Marauders

“Come, don’t be in a fright, but put on your clothes, and I’ll let you into a secret. You must know that I am Captain of this ship now, and this is my cabin, therefore you must walk out. I am bound to Madagascar, with a design of making my own fortune, and that of all the brave fellows joined with me…if you have a mind to make one of us, we will receive you, and if you’ll turn sober, and mind your business, perhaps in time I may make you one of my Lieutenants, if not, here’s a boat alongside and you shall be set ashore.”
—Henry Every (1659—1696),
English Pirate Known as “The King of the Pirates”

Henry Every

Country of Origin: England
Years Active: 3 Years
Most Notable Event: Successful raid on a 25-ship convoy of Grand Mughal vessels making their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which included the treasure-laden Ganj-i-Sawai (a large, armed trading ship owned by the emperor of India.

Henry Every (1659—1696)

Henry Every (also known as Henry Avery) was an English pirate who operated in the Atlantic and Indian oceans toward the end of the 17th century. He was known in his day as “The Arch Pirate” or the “King of the Pirates,” largely due to his successful capture of one of the greatest fortunes in the history of pirating, and his subsequent retirement

Alexander Selkirk

Country of Origin: Scotland
Years Active: 1693—1704, 1709-1721
Most Notable Event: Living for four years and four months (1704–1709) as a castaway on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific Ocean after being marooned by his captain.

Alexander Selkirk (1676—1721)

Scottish buccaneer and navigator Alexander Selkirk’s experience as a castaway on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile is the inspiration behind the legend of Robinson Crusoe. Robinson Crusoe is a novel written by Daniel Defoe and first published in April 1719. Selkirk’s story begins in September of 1704 when he was the sailing master (the naval officer responsible for navigation) of the Cinque Ports on a privateering expedition in the South Pacific. When his ship was infested with worms, which reduced parts of the hull to near pulp, Selkirk began to doubt the vessel was seaworthy. With the tyrannical Captain Stradling refusing to stop for repairs, Selkirk demanded that he be dropped off at the nearest island. Already tired of quarrelling about their location with Selkirk, the Captain immediately agreed. When Selkirk, after being dropped off in the surf, first reached the hot sand on the shore and set his few possessions on the beach, he began to have second thoughts. But it was too late, he suddenly turned around in a panic only to watch the ship and its crew sailing away toward the horizon. Selkirk hoped it wouldn’t be too long before another ship would pass by and he would be rescued. Not wanting to overlook any possibility of rescue, he spent the bulk of his days scanning the horizon hoping to spy a passing ship.

Learn more about Alexander Selkirk’s incredible experience as a castaway in Classic Influence Podcast (CIP) episode #006: Prosper Where You’re Planted: The Legend Behind the Story of Robinson Crusoe

Charles Vane

Country of Origin: England
Years Active: 1716—1721
Most Notable Event: Taking a stand against England’s Governor of Nassau, Woodes Rogers.

Charles Vane (1680—1721)

Charles Vane was known for his cruelty and lack of respect for the pirate code. He often beat, tortured, and murdered his captors. Vane operated out of the Bahamas toward the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. Charles Vane began his career as a pirate off the coast of Florida under the leadership of Henry Jennings during his attack on the salvage crew of the wrecked Spanish Treasure Fleet of 1715. For a time, Charles Vane worked together with another famous pirate knokwn as Jack Rackham or “Calico Jack.”

Woodes Rogers

Country of Origin: England
Years Active: 1709—1710
Most Notable Event: Serving as governor, and suppressing the activity of the pirates in the Caribbean.

Woodes Rogers (1679—1732)

Woodes Rogers was an English sea captain and privateer. He later became the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas tasked with ridding the colony of pirates and keeping the island safe from Spanish threats.

Edward Teach "Blackbeard"

Country of Origin: Bristol, England.
Years Active: 1716—1718
Most Notable Event: Final standoff at Ocracoke Island.

Edward Teach "Blackbeard" (1680—1718)

Captain of Queen Anne’s Revenge, Edward Teach (or Thatch) was an English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the east coast of North America.

"Calico Jack" Rackham

Country of Origin: Devonshire, England.
Years Active: 1718—1720
Most Notable Event: Capturing of the Whydah Gally, a state-of-the-art, 300-ton, 102-foot-long English slave ship with 18 guns Ships: Marianne, Sultana, and Whydah Gally

John "Calico Jack" Rackham (1682—1720)

Calico Jack got his start as a pirate in 1718 working as quartermaster on Charles Vane’s brigantine Ranger . Rackham primarily operated out of the pirate base on New Providence island in the Bahamas, famously known as “The Pirate Republic.”

"Black Sam" Bellamy

Country of Origin: Devonshire, England.
Years Active: 1716—1717
Most Notable Event: Capturing of the Whydah Gally, a state-of-the-art, 300-ton, 102-foot-long English slave ship with 18 guns
Ships: Marianne, Sultana, and Whydah Gally

Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy (1689—1717)

“Black Sam” Bellamy started out as an impoverished colonist living in America, who turned to piracy to make a living and support a family. Fed up with British oppression, Bellamy was considered the Robin Hood of pirates. He stole from wealthy British merchants to give to the poor. He was also dubbed “Sam the Good,” for he freed slaves and rules his fleet democratically.

Capturing some 53 ships in little more than a year, history also reports “Black Sam” Bellamy as the wealthiest pirate in the entire Golden Age of Piracy. Lashing out against the corrupt elites of England, who robbed the poor under the cover of the law, Bellamy famously said:

“I am a free prince, and I have as much authority to make war on the whole world as he who has a hundred sail of ships at sea and an army of 100,000 men in the field; and this my conscience tells me! But there is no arguing with such snivelling puppies, who allow superiors to kick them about deck at pleasure.”

 

List of Famous Pirates, Raiders, and Buccaneers:
  1. Sayyida al Hurra (1485—1561)—known as "The Pirate Queen of the Western Mediterranean"
  2. Sir Henry Morgan (1635—1688)—
  3. Cotton Mather (1663—1728)—a New England clergyman, Cotton Mather was a fierce and outspoken anti-pirate. He is also famous for his participation in the Salem Witch Trials.
  4. Stede Bonnet (1688—1718)—known as "The Gentleman Pirate," Bonnet was born in Barbados to a wealthy English family.
  5. Edward Low (1690—1724)—the viciously violent pirate was born into poverty in Westminster, England.
  6. Howell Davis (also “Hywel Davies”(1690—1719)—operated out of New Providence and Coxon’s Hole in Honduras. Davis was known for his intelligence, and he often used tricks and stratagems instead of relying only on firepower and fear.
  7. Anne Bonny (1697—1721)—
  8. Edward England
  9. Paulsgrave Williams
  10. Emanuel Wynn—First pirate to fly the Jolly Roger
  11. Witch of Eastham—lover of Sam Bellamy
  12. Black Caesar
  13. Peter Easton
  14. Christopher Contend
  15. Cheung Po Tsai
  16. Christopher Moody—known for adopting the gruesome “leave no prisoners alive” policy.
  17. Captain Henry Jennings
  18. Awilda—Daughter of 18th century Scandinavian king
  19. Grace O’Malley
  20. Captain William Kidd
  21. Benjamin Hornigold
  22. Thomas Tew
  23. Francis Drake
  24. Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts
  25. Madame Ching