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Biographies of Famous Pirates

Captain Edward England

Flag Attributed to Captain England


    Born Edward Seegar in Ireland, Edward England's career as a pirate began when the sloop that he was a mate on, was taken by a pirate Captain Winter during a trip from Jamaica to Providence, and he was forced to join the pirate crew. Winter most likely took England to the pirate base on Nassau, Bahamas, for England is next reported as Charles Vane's quartermaster, in March, 1718. Vane's sloop, the Lark was captured by the Royal Navy, but England and the rest of the crew were released to induce the other pirates of Nassau to accept the King's pardon, offered by Woodes Rogers in the name of the Crown. Vane granted England command of a captured vessel in mid-1718. England made for the west coast of Africa, where he plundered large numbers of slave ships, including the snow Cadogan. After torturing it's captain for past misdeeds to some of the crew that remembered him from an earlier time, he gave the ship to Howel Davis.  Next England took a ship called the Pearl and exchanged it for his sloop, renaming it the Royal James. He and his crew stayed for some time in an African town, but a conflict arose over the pirates treatment of the local women. Fighting broke out and the pirates burned the town, and than sailed away.

    In 1719 the pirates returned to Africa and between the River Gambia and Cape Coast took ten ships; three of which they released after plundering, four they burned, and two others, the Mercury and the Elizabeth and Katherine, they refitted as pirates naming them the Queen Anne's Revenge and Flying King respectively.  A Captain Lane was given command of the Queen Anne's Revenge and a Captain Robert Sample was given command of the Flying King. These two ships then left Edward England and sailed to the Caribbean. By 1720, England had reached the Indian Ocean, where he joined forces with fellow pirate captain Oliver la Bouche. After taken several ships, England and crew sailed to another harbor and careened their ships, and renamed one of there prizes as the Victory. The pirates spent the better part of a month partying, killing several of the natives and setting fire to one of the native villages. Putting out to sea again they took several Indian vessels and a Dutch ship which they exchanged for one of their own.

    Next England and La Bouche attacked three ships, The captain of one of the English ships, the Cassandra, put up a fierce battle. So damaging the pirates Dutch ship, now called the Fancy, that the pirates kept the Cassandra and gave the Fancy, in its ill shape, to the defeated English captain. The other English ship, the Greenwich, and the Ostender deserted the Cassandra and ran off. England's order to spare the Cassandra's captain and crews lives, then give the Fancy away did not go over well with some of England's crew including his quartermaster John Taylor. He led a vote to depose England from command. England was subsequently marooned on Mauritius with two other crew members, where they fashioned a small raft and made it to St. Augustine's Bay in Madagascar. Here England survived for a short while off the charity of others begging for food before finally dying around the end of 1720. England was described by Captain Johnson as "a man with a terrible pair of whiskers and a wooden leg, being stuck round with pistols," and is said to have been the model for Robert Louis Stevenson's character, Long John Silver. Like most pirates, England's end was neither in fame nor riches.  England was said to have been one of the more humane of the pirate captains and only allowed the crew to torture victims when he could not persuade them otherwise. His flag was the now classic Jolly Roger with a skull above two crossed thigh bones on a black background.




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