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Anne Bonny

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Anne Bonny
Biographical information
Gender

Female

Ethnic group

Irish

Born

March 8, 1700

Died

Unknown

Family

James Bonny (husband)

Also known as

Anne Bonney[1]

Statistics
Weapon(s) owned

Cutlass
Pistol

Ship(s) captained or crewed

William

Affiliation

Brethren Court

Behind the scenes
.

Anne Bonny (née Cormac) was a notorious Irish female pirate who operated in the Caribbean during the early 18th century.

Biography

Early life

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, Carolina.

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 Bonny, 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.

They fled to the Bahamas and settled on the island of 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.

Pirate career

Calico Jack flag

Rackham's pirate flag

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 Bonny objected to the affair, he abducted Anne, brought her naked before Governor Woodes Rogers 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.[1]

Anne Mary Crew

Anne, Mary, and their shipmates divide the plundered treasure

After Rackham and his men captured a British vessel, Anne saw a young strapping sailor among the newly-captured prize and decided that she would have her way with him. To Anne's surprise, when she got the man alone, he opened his blouse and he exposed to Anne that he too was a woman[2], Mary Reade. Mary also joined Rackham's crew.

Captured

In 1720, a former pirate turned pirate-hunter, Captain Barnet, attacked Calico Jack's ship. 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 Bonny and Mary Reade stood their ground, fighting furiously.[2] But despite Anne and Mary's ferocity, the pirates were captured and taken to Jamaica.

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.[1]All were hanged, except for Anne and Mary. Mary soon died in a prison, but Anne was released.[1] Her final fate is unknown.

Behind the scenes

Anne Mary ride

Anne and Mary on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride

"Over there I see Gentleman Jocard, the slave who took over his ship and took on his Captain's name. And Ann Bonny, and the infamous Captain Rackham."
Hector Barbossa[src] (original screenplay)

Sources

Notes and references

External links

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