Foreshore Rd, Port Royal, Jamaica
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Anne Bonny the Lady Pirate

tumblr_mampya8IcG1rpj02bo1_1280It is difficult to separate the truth from the legend of Anne Bonny.

The only particulars we can be sure of is that Anne Bonny was a strong, independent woman, she were way ahead of her time. The 18th century, was still a time when men (Scallywags) made all-important determinations.  It were a time when women did not have the rights ye may expect today. In this time period it was a man’s world an’ it was a significant feat for Anne Bonny to become an equal crewmember and a respected pirate.

The exact date of Anne Bonny’s birth is unknown. Most historians proffer  she were born in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland in 1697. Anne was the illegitimate daughter of lawyer William Cormac and his paramour & servant woman, Mary Brennan. William’s real wife made his life of adultery public and after losing his reputation, William departed Ireland with his new wife and newborn child to begin again in the New World. The new family settled in Charleston, South Carolina where William began again in his legal career as a barrister. Settleing on a South Carolina plantation.

After her mother passed, in her late teens, Anne became the primary caretaker of her father’s household. Many stories about her teen years are available; some of them even claim that she murdered a servant girl with a knife. Another tale involved a young man that Anne Bonny put in the hospital for several weeks, after his ill fated attempt to sexually assault her.

At sixteen years old, she fell in love with small-time pirate, James Bonny, who just wanted her estate. Anne’s father warned against their relationship, but she was stubborn and married him. As a father, William Cormac was very disappointed, because he wanted to make a respectful lady of Anne, so he turned her out of his home.


James Bonney sailed his new wife to the New Providence, rogues hideout. James had hard time supporting Anne however, and in the end, he became an informer for the governor, Woodes Rogers. Anne was disgusted, she had made many pirate friends. With the guidance of her good friend, Pierre, (a celebrated homosexual who ran a popular ladies establishment), Anne left her husband. She run away with Calico Jack Rackam, romantic pirate Captain who even offered to buy her from Anne’s husband.

Calico Jack Rackam was a typical small-time pirate who usually attacked coastal shipping. He was not very successful as a pirate, but he knew how to spend money with style. The love relationship between Anne and Calico was not public, but on the ship, everybody knew that Anne was “the captain’s woman”.

When Calico Jack Rackam found out that Anne Bonny was pregnant, he left her on Cuba to deliver the baby. Several theories exist about the fate of Anne’s first baby. Some surmise she just abandoned the newborn daughter, some think that Calico had a friend with a family on Cuba who agreed to raise their child. Some even think that her child died at birth.

After few months, she returned to Rackam’s ship, but now infamous Mary Read was also on board. It did not take long for the two girls to become good friends. According to some sailors, Anne and Mary were even in a romantic relationship.

In October 1720, Captain Barnet, ex-pirate, now Commander of the British Navy attacked Rackam’s anchored ship “Revenge”. Almost the entire Rackam’s crew was drunk.Calico Jack Rackam’s crewe had been celebrating all night, after having managed to capture a Spanish commercial ship loaded with treasure. The fight with Captain Barnet was short since only Mary and Anne resisted the invasion. 

The crew of “Revenge” was taken to Port Royal, Jamaica to stand trial. This Pirate trial was a big sensation, because the background of the female prisoners Anne Bonny and Mary Read was revealed to the public. Anne and Mary were women who escaped from traditional restrictions and in their own way, fought for equality between men and women.

All members of the Revenge were eventually found guilty for the crime of piracy. The resulting sentence for piracy was death by hanging. However, Anne and Bonny were spared, since they claimed to be pregnant. Mary Read died in a Jamaican prison from fever, but the fate of Anne Bonny is unknown.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), Anne Bonny’s father managed to pay the ransom for his daughter and bring her back to the Charles Town. Soon after, she gave a birth to Rackham’s child. In 1721 she remarried to Joseph Burleigh. They had eight children. She died in April 25, 1782 in South Carolina.

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Country Jamaica
State/Province Kingston Parish
distance: 773 Miles
Address Foreshore Rd, Port Royal, Jamaica
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