Pirates & Privateers

Sources · Blackbeard · Drake · Gráinne O'Malley· Captain Kidd
Captain Kidd in New York Harbor by J.L.G. Ferris Captain William Kidd, a Scotsman who later lived and married in America, was born in the mid-seventeenth century, went to sea in his youth, and was given a contract as a privateer to harry the French in 1695. "It was William Kidd's misfortune to sail the seas as a privateer/pirate just when the rules changed and the privateer/pirate became an outlaw..." [Captain Kidd, at the University of Massachusetts].

After many adventures that crossed the globe from the Americas to the Indian Ocean, Kidd was hanged for piracy and murder in London on May 23, 1701. Many believe he was framed. He is remembered in the ballad that bears his name:

   My name is Captain Kidd, as I sailed, as I sailed
   My name is Captain Kidd, as I sailed...

Pirate or Privateer?

William Kidd, a brief biography of Scotland's most famous privateer, at Tartans.com.
Pirate Hunter: Captain Kidd, part of Chapter One of Richard Zacks' Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd.
Captain Kidd, a biography at The Pirates' Realm.
Captain Kidd, another biography at Magic Torch, Inverclyde, Scotland.
William Kidd, at Swashbuckler's Cove.

The American Shore

"You may have heard of one Captain Kidd......the many stories current - the thousand vague rumours afloat about money buried, somewhere upon the Atlantic coast, by Kidd and his associates." -- Edgar Allen Poe, "The Gold Bug".
The Gold Bug by Edgar Allen Poe, at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center.
Captain Kidd: Pirate's Treasure Buried in the Connecticut River, a biography of Captain William Kidd and an exploration of legend of his treasure buried on Clarke's Island.
Captain Kidd on the Raritan Bay. The history of Captain Kidd, at New Jersey's History Mysteries. "Many people today are unaware of the role New Jersey, and especially the Raritan Bayshore, played in the lives of many pirate legends in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The waters between Sandy Hook and New York City were infested with pirates and French privateers..."
Captain Kidd and the Mohegan Indians, a Native American legend from Northeast Wigwam, by Deborah Champlain.

The Ballad

My Name Is Captain Kidd at Chanteys: Work Songs of the Sea
The Ballad of Captain Kidd with variations, at Cantaria.
Captain Kidd with score and lyrics, at the Digital Tradition mirror site.
The Ballad of Captain Kidd at Folksongs of Various Countries, in Germany.

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14 March 2004