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Jack Rackham Flag
Jack Rackham

(16?? - 1720)
Jack Rackham

Rackham came to prominence while the Quartermaster for Charles Vane. When Vane's company split, Vane and some crew were voted off as cowards and allowed to set sail in a sloop, Rackham became the captain of his own ship, the brigantine Kingston they were sailing in. Date: 24th Nov 1718.

The two captains parted, Rackham sailing to the Island of Princes. Here he captured a turtle sloop, and hearing war had broken out, resolved to take a pardon and go privateering. He released the sloop and sent the captain to Woods Rogers to ask for a pardon. However, the Kingston's captain was also there, and a pardon was not offered. Instead, two ships were fitted out to bring Rackham in. Meanwhile, Rackham and crew were resting peaceably while waiting for news of their pardon. The hunters found them un prepared to defend themselves. The

pirates fled inland while the Kingston was captured and taken back to New Providence.

Rackham resolved to seek a pardon, and with a few supporters set out for New Providence, capturing some Spanish vessels more seaworthy, transferring their cargo, and arrived at New Providence where the Governor gave them their pardon. They sold their plunder and lived merrily. It was here Rackham met Anne Bonny, who enticed her away from her husband. He offered to buy her, but there was no deal. The Governor came to hear of their dalliances and ordered it to stop. Anne couldn't allow this, and they plotted to run away together.

They chose a Bermuda sloop, renowned for its speed, and with eight associates keen to go pirating, they stole the ship and took to sea. They looked for a man who had caused them trouble, and knew where to look. They plundered his ship, but he hid ashore. Three of his crew, Richard Cornor, John Davis and John Howell joined his crew.

Over Christmas he holed up on a small island drinking until his provisions ran out, before taking to sea again. His plundering returned little. Off Bermuda he captured two ships, and careened his ship. However, his location was revealed to Capt Woodes Rogers, the Governor of Providence, who sent out a well fit out sloop to capture Rackham. In a battle, the two prize ships are captured by the pirate hunter, but Rackham manages to escape, going to Cuba where he has a family. Here he stays until his money runs low, and as he prepares to leave, a Spanish coast guard ship towing a captured English sloop discovers him. Through good fortune, Rackham takes the captured sloop and abandons his own ship.

My records for Rackham are not clear, for somewhere in here he drops off Anne Bonny to bears his child, then she returns to sea with him. I assume this return to sea of Bonny and Rackham is part of the incident above. They capture a Dutch ship and Mary Read, who joins their crew. They capture numerous other small vessels.

By August 1720 he is in the bays of Jamaica capturing small vessels, as his own crew was small. On the 20th October he found a sloop in Dry Harbour bay with the crew ashore. Discovering them to be pirates, the two bands joined together. Rackham was reported to the Governor by a canoe he had captured, and a sloop under Capt Barnet was fitted out to hunt him down.

Rackham came across a native canoe full of men at Negril Point who took to the shore, but on further investigation, proved to be Englishmen. They came aboard to share punch just before the pirate hunter encountered them. In a brief fight, said to be dominated more by the lady pirates than anyone else, Rackham was captured, his ship towed to Port Royal, Jamaica. He was convicted and hung 18th November 1720. Before he died, he was allowed to visit Anne Bonny, who rebuked him saying " that she was sorry to see him there, but if he fought like a man, he need not have been hanged like a dog"


Anne Bonney
Bartholomew Roberts
Charles Vane
Edward Low

Edward Teach
Emanuel Wynne
Henry Every
Jack Rackham
Mary Read

Richard Worley
Stede Bonnet
Thomas Tew
Walter Kennedy
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