Most Famous Pirate Ships

Queen Anne’s Revenge

Most famous pirate Edward Teach who was also known as pirate Blackbeard used Queen Anne’s Revenge as his flagship. This ship was initially built in Bristol having the weight of 200 ton for merchant service in 1710. Later French pirates captured the ship and named it La Concorde. They used the ship for the slave trade.

She was conquered by Blackbeard at some time in 1717 near to the island of Saint Vincent. He added heavy cannons to it. Blackbeard served Royal Navy in the War of the Spanish Succession which is also known as Queen Anne’s War. Queen Anne was the last Stuart monarch. Possibly due to the sympathy of Edward’s towards Queen Anne, he renamed the ship as Queen Anne’s Revenge. He took this ship from Africa to the Caribbean and attacked Dutch, Portuguese and British merchant ships on its way.

Queen Anne’s Revenge

He used this ship for a couple of years and acquired numerous prizes during this tenure. In May month of 1718, Blackbeard and his crew abandoned her and transferred the supplies to other smaller ships in North Carolina. In 1996, a private firm found this ship and was included to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Whydah Gally

Sir Humphrey Morice, a Member of Parliament of England who was the famous slave merchant in London. In 1715 he commissioned “The Whydah” which was 110 feet long, around 300 tons burthen and could sail at the speed up to 14 knots. It was fully rigged galley ship which was built to sail as slave, passenger and cargo ship.

In 1717, when Captain Lawrence Prince who was a former pirate under Sir Henry Morgan sailing the Whydah Gally between Hispaniola and Cuba, “Black Sam” Bellamy attacked the ship. At the time of the attack, Bellamy was having two other heavy cannoned ships named Sultana and Marianne. After three days of the continuous chase and run, Prince finally surrendered and Bellamy captured the Whydah Gally and he declared her as his new flagship.

The Whydah Gally

In its lifetime, the ship was upgraded number of times, varying number of cannons she had from 18 cannons to 60 cannons. The legend is that Bellamy sailed the ship to the Cape Cod to meet his love the “Witch of Wellfleet”.  On the way to Cape Cod, he captured other ships, Mary Anne. During their way, the group of his ships faced massively dense fog which made the visibility almost nil.

Few of the ships could move out from this fog to sea, however, the Whydah Gally was broken into parts facing breaking waves of high speed and the heavy cannons it was carrying capsized the ship. The ship went to the ocean floor dragging around 4.1 tonnes of Gold and silver, 60 cannons and approximately 144 people. Underwater Archaeology could recover more than 2 lakh pieces after extensive research of the area in 1985, and also recovered the bell which inscribed “THE WHYDAH GALLY 1716”.

Pirate Ships Captured by Bartholomew Roberts

One of the most successful pirates of Golden Age of Piracy, Bartholomew Roberts who was born as John Roberts and known as “Black Bart” in Welsh raided a number of ships off the West of Africa and Americas between 1719 and 1722.  He is famously known taking over 400 prizes.

In his career, Roberts captured few of the very famous ships, a Dutch Guineaman, a British ship Experiment, Sagrada Familia which was having more than 40,000 gold moidores and jewelry specially designed for the King of Portugal, Fortune, Sea King.

Elizabethan Pirate Ships

In June 1720, Roberts’ pirate crew attacked Trepassey with black flags flying on their fleet headed by Fortune. He captured 22 merchant ships and upgraded Fortune with 26 cannons. During July that year, he captured other ten French ships and upgraded their main ship with heavy cannons and renamed it as Good Fortune.

Later the Good Fortune was upgraded for heavy war and renamed as Royal Fortune. With all these ships, he sailed towards St. Lucia and captured 15 French and English ships mainly Greyhound and Ranger.

During April 1721, at the Cape Verde islands, Roberts attacked and captured two French ships which were named Ranger and the other as Little Ranger. In June he headed for Sierra Leone and captured two Royal Navy Ships, HMS Weymouth and HMS Swallow.

Pirate Ship Fancy

In May 1694, while stationed aboard the privateer Charles II off the coast of Spain, Henry Avery plotted a mutiny that would launch his new and short-lived career as a pirate. Following the successful takeover, Avery, who was a former Royal Navy midshipman, renamed the ship the Fancy and set out with his newly liberated crew to seek a fortune.

Pirate Ship Fancy

Avery steered the Fancy, which boasted nearly 50 guns and a crew of 150, to the island of Johanna off the Cape of Good Hope. There, the ship was cleaned and restructured to increase her speed.

Avery and his crew terrorized ships in the Indian Ocean until late 1695, when they set sail for the Bahamas, enormous fortune in tow, for early retirement.

Pirate Ship Adventure Galley – Captain William Kidd

The Adventure Galley was a specially designed galley-warship weighing over 284 tons, equipped with 34 cannons and 100 skillful crewmembers. The ship was given to famous pirate/privateer captain Kidd by The King’s officers for attacks on pirates and French East Indian Co. ships in the Eastern Seas.

The biggest sea-victory of this pirate ship was in January 1698 against an Armenian ship, Quedah Merchant, the treasure ship that belonged to the British East India Company. After that battle, Captain Kidd replaced The Adventure Galley with Quedah as his flagship.

Captain Kidd

He left The Adventure Galley behind ordering her to be burnt because she was already rotten. Kidd wanted to capture a giant treasure ship called the Quedah Merchant.

After a terrible battle, Kidd and his crew took over the ship and captured the greatest pirate treasures ever! Little did Kidd know, but most of the treasure he had stolen belonged to some very powerful people. He was captured and sentenced to die by hanging.

Pirate Ship Edward Teach (Blackbeard)

Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, was the most famous pirate in history. Blackbeard was a very mysterious man and not very much is known about his life. He got his nickname because of his long, black beard that he wore in braids. He was also known for having many pistols strapped to his chest to be ready for battle.

Even though Blackbeard is the most famous pirate, his pirate “career” only lasted about 2 years. During these 2 years, however, Blackbeard attacked many ships and killed many people. He was eventually killed in a battle in 1718. Legend has it that he was hit with “5 pistol balls and 20 cutlass wounds” before he fell to his death.

Pirate Ship CSS Alabama

Though technically a warship, the most destructive Confederate raider in history is worthy of a mention here. According to Stephen Fox’s biography of Alabama’s captain, Ralph Semmes, the ship’s destructive reputation once led the New York Herald to refer to Semmes as “A Pirate on the High Seas.”

Famous Pirate Shipwrecks

Built-in 1862 by Henry Laird, whose family’s company also built 40 ships for the Royal Navy, Alabama was designed for speed and deception.

The ship was 220 feet long and 32 feet wide with room for 350 tons of coal. Alabama’s forward pivot gun fired 100-pound shells and the wheel of the ship was inscribed with a Confederate motto: “Help Yourself and God Will Help You.”

Some other Famous Pirate Ships Include:

  • Captain John Gow’s merchant ship – Revenge(former Caroline);
  • John Rackham’s sloop – William;
  • Edward England’s galleys – Fancy, Royal James(former Pearl) and Victory;
  • Bartholomew Roberts’ ships – Royal Fortune, Great Fortune & Great Ranger;
  • Thomas Tew’ sloops – Liberty and the Amity;
  • Charles Vane’s sloop – Ranger.