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Captain Kidd, Was He Really a Pirate?

Captain Kidd, Was He Really a Pirate?

Learn about the history of the pirate Captain Kidd. Or was he a pirate after all? Keep reading to know more about this man's life.
Claudia Miclaus
Many people know about Kidd as the fearsome pirate who roamed the seas and searched for innocent victims to kill. But was he really that way? Did he really kill so many people and steal that much treasure? Maybe he was just an innocent victim of the English and their lies. Maybe he was just a victim of circumstance and all he did was either an attempt to save his own life or to keep his crew. Maybe he was a pirate who deserved what he got.

There are conflicting accounts as to where Kidd was born. One of them states that he was born in 1645, in Greenock, Scotland, to a family of good reputation. The other theory is that he was born in Dundee to the poor family of a fisherman. But which one is true? Does it even really matter that much? One thing that might interest you is the fact that when Kidd was on death row he claimed to be from Greenock.

At five years of age Kidd's father died and he was moved to the colony in New York. As he grew up in that city, he got to know the prominent citizens and became friends with three governors. It is here that Kidd disappears out of sight for a while until the war of the Grand Alliance. In this war, Kidd captured an enemy privateer off the coast of New England. This happened at the very start of his career, which rapidly moved forward when he received money for privateering in the Caribbean.

Captain Kidd was not only in the privateer business at the time, he also helped to build a Church in New York. Although it was a humble church, Kidd gave his time and effort and that was noble of him.

In 1695, the governor of New York, Massachusetts, asked Captain Kidd to attack various people who associated themselves with pirates. This is the voyage before Kidd became associated with pirates and probably the one that really set him for the life of a privateer.

Kidd's expenses were paid for by noble lords and it is said that the king of England himself helped pay for the ship. Captain Kidd sold his old ship to be able to get the proper amount of funds and bought a new one much more suitable to the task of catching pirates. Kidd hand picked 150 crew members, but soon lost most of them when a captain got mad at him for not saluting him properly, and as punishment, he took over half of Captain Kidd's crew.

The bad luck did not stop there because cholera took about a third of his crew and then no matter where he went, he couldn't find any pirates. I think it is obvious that he would become quite desperate. Later on, Kidd accidentally killed one of his crew members when the man accused Kidd of turning him into a lousy dog.

There were numerous reports of prisoners being tortured when they were aboard Captain Kidd's ship. It wasn't the only thing that his crew members did. They also looted and tortured the crew members of a friendly ship while Kidd was with the captain, talking. Things were just getting out of control.

It was not long before Captain Kidd realized he was wanted for piracy. He went on the run but was betrayed by a trusted friend into the hands of the English.

Captain Kidd received a bogus trial and the people who hired him to privateer never came to his defense. Rather they hid the only evidence that would have given him a chance to live. They hung Kidd and set his hanging corpse on display for two years as a warning to all pirates.

So was he a pirate or wasn't he? Well, judge for yourself.