Anne Bonny was just about the prettiest Irish Colleen who ever grew
up to slit a mans gullet, or
her dainty feet on the blood-spattered deck of a pirate ship.
She was born in Cork, Ireland, the illegitimate child of a prominent
attorney and his wife's maid. The scandal attending Anne's birth
caused her father to relocate with his new family to South Carolina,
where he prospered as a merchant. Anne grew up to be a handsome
woman, with much vitality and courage, but also a fierce temper.
When only twelve, in a fit of temper, she stabbed to death a servant
girl with a table knife.
Rather than one of the wealthy gentleman her father approved
of, Anne married a penniless ne'er-do-well sailor by the name
of James Bonny. After a fervent honeymoon, he slipped away to
sea and never came back. Anne tracked him down to the famous Virgin
Islands at the tender age of sixteen. Anne was not on a Caribbean
catamaran vacation. In the Virgin Islands she committed her second
murder by slitting the throat of her runaway husband in a St Thomas
brothel. She transferred her affections to Captain Jack Rackman,
better known as Calico Jack, because of the colorful shirts he
Although a handsome devil, Jack had been just another run of the
mill pirate. Anne apparently inspired him to greatness and soon
this pair became the scourge of the Caribbean, cutting a bloody
swath as they plundered everything that crossed their paths, from
rich merchantmen to small fishing vessels. According to Defoe,
Anne was the lioness in battle and was as active as any of her
male shipmates with cutlass and marlinspike, always one of the
leaders in boarding a prize. In late October 1720, Rackman dropped
anchor off the coats of Jamaica, the pirates were getting gloriously
drunk when a British Navy sloop surprised them. Rackman and most
of his men decided not to fight and hid in the hold in a cowardly
manner. Anne fought with the Navy men furiously boldly firing
her pistols, then flailing away with cutlass and axe. When she
realized all was lost, she turned on her hiding mates killing
2 pirates, wounding eight others. At a trial in Jamaica Anne,
Calico Jack and the surviving pirates were sentenced to be executed.
When the judge asked if Anne had anything to say, she replied.
"Milord, I plead with my belly," she was pregnant. The
judge immediately stayed the other for execution. No English court
had the power to kill an unborn child, no matter how guilty the
As Calico Jack went to his death, the unrelenting Anne told him,
"Had you fought like a man you would not have been hanged
like a dog!"
After the birth of her child her father bought her release, and
she returned to Charlotte Amalie where she opened a gaming house
and further acquired a sporting reputation.
Today there are no Anne Bonny's or Calico Jacks' to worry about
but they were wise to find the catamaran
charter paradise of the world. The pirates of the 1700's would
be astounded by the number of Caribbean catamaran charters being
done in the same area and with these different sailing yachts.