Captain Kidd Facts and Biography

Captain Kidd

Captain Kidd Biography Summary: Captain William Kidd (1645 - 1701) was a famous Scottish Sailor, Privateer and Pirate. Captain Kidd was as a privateer and his ships, the Blessed William and the Adventure Galley, were commissioned to protect English ships from French attacks in the Caribbean. There is considerable doubt over whether or not Captain Kidd was actually a pirate as there is the belief that he  kept to the laws of privateering and only attacked those ships that he could lawfully attack. Captain Kidd attacked the Quedagh Merchant, a ship laden with gold, precious spices and other East Indian merchandise, that was partly owned by a minister at the court of the Indian Grand Moghul.

The minister made bitter complaints to the British and Captain Kidd was subsequently arrested for piracy, tried in London. Captain Kidd was found guilty of murder and piracy and hanged on May 23, 1701.

Captain Kidd Fact Sheet: Who was Captain Kidd? The following short biography and fact sheet provides interesting facts about the life, times and history of Captain Kidd.


Facts about Captain Kidd


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Captain Kidd Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1645 - 1701 *** Full Name: Captain Kidd *** Occupation: Scottish Sailor, Privateer and Pirate *** Date of Birth: Captain Kidd was born on January 22nd 1645 *** Place of Birth: Captain Kidd was born in Dundee, Scotland *** Family background: His father was Captain John Kyd who would die at sea *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Dundee, Scotland *** Education: Captain Kidd would have received some education *** Captain Kidd was executed on May 23, 1701.

Captain Kidd Fact 1: Captain Kidd was born on January 22nd 1645 and during the 17th century period in history when Europeans began to colonize the Americaís in earnest, the Ming Dynasty began to collapse, in the Near East, the Persian, Ottoman and Mughal empires were on the rise and many innovations were being made in science, medicine, technology and industry.

Captain Kidd Fact 2: Although there is no categorical proof, it is assumed Kidd went to sea as an adolescence and learned his trade.

Captain Kidd Fact 3: By 1689 as a legitimate privateer he was sailing for Great Britain in opposition to the French in the West Indies as well as off of the coast of North America.

Captain Kidd Fact 4: During 1690 he was established as a ship owner and sea captain based in New York City where he also owned property.

Captain Kidd Fact 5: On occasions he was called upon to dispatch privateers from off of the coasts of Massachusetts and New York.

Captain Kidd Fact 6: He was granted a Royal commission in 1695 to capture pirates who were attacking ships owned by the East India Company across the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.

Captain Kidd Fact 7: In February of 1696 Captain Kidd set sail from Deptford aboard his ship the Adventure Galley, calling at Plymouth, and arriving at New York City in early July to recruit more men.

Captain Kidd Fact 8: Among these men was Hendrick van der Heul, as quartermaster and second in command to the captain who was a known pirate.

Captain Kidd Fact 9: With a full complement of men they set sail for the Cape of Good Hope to look for pirates. While taking on supplies on Comoros, Captain Kidd would lose one third of his crew to an outbreak of cholera. His new ship developed leads and having expected to encounter pirates off the coast of Madagascar, they again located none.

Captain Kidd Fact 10: Captain Kidd then set a course for the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, a stretch of water at the southerly most point of the Red Sea, another popular hunting area for pirates but again was dumbfounded at not sighting any.

Captain Kidd Fact 11: In need of funds to cover his cost and loses it is thought he ordered the attack on a Mughal convoy being escorted by an East Indiaman but the attack was resisted. If this account is true, it would be Kiddís first attempt at piracy.

Captain Kidd Fact 12: His crew were becoming restless and some deserted, while the remainder constantly and openly threatened to mutiny.

Captain Kidd Fact 13: At one point Captain Kidd insulted a member of his crew and the crewman verbally retaliated. For his insubordination, Kidd struck him with an iron bound bucket, causing a fracture to the sailors head resulting in his death. Although captains of the time had a certain leeway when it came to punishing crewmembers, murder was not condoned.

Captain Kidd Fact 14: There are stories that suggest his crew were wayward and attacked ships while his attention was diverted and when he became aware of the circumstances, bade them return the stolen goods. In one instance a ship, the Quedagh Merchant, sailing under Armenian colors was boarded. When Captain Kidd realized the captain was also an Englishman, he ordered the crew to return the goods. But the crew refused, sighting that as privateers they were within the law.

Captain Kidd Fact 15: The Quedagh Merchant was partly owned by minister at the court of the Indian Grand Moghul who placed political pressure on the British to have Captain Kidd arrested for piracy. When the events were retold in England it seemed to confirm his treachery as a pirate, but as Captain Kidd had kept the papers and passes proving the ship to be of French, not Armenian, origin, he hoped it would prove his case for the legitimate capture of the vessel.

Captain Kidd Fact 16: They made course for Madagascar and arrived in April 1698 where Captain Kidd encountered the pirate Robert Culliford, who he had come into conflict with some years previous.

Captain Kidd Fact 17: Captain Kidd had only thirteen loyal crewmen remaining after the others changed allegiance and joined Robert Cullifordís crew.

Captain Kidd Fact 18: Deciding to make their way homeward, Captain Kidd ordered the Adventure Galley burned as she was worm ridden and leaky and set sail for home aboard the Adventure Prize. En route to New York City he learned of his situation as being wanted for piracy and that he was being hunted by various English men-of-war.

Captain Kidd Fact 19: Taking precautions to reach his destination before being apprehended, Captain Kidd switched vessels. One back in Boston, he was arrested and imprisoned and would be held for over a year before being sent to England where he was questioned before Parliament. During his time of imprisonment his wife, Sarah, who he had married in 1691, was also imprisoned.

Captain Kidd Fact 20: His benefactors abandoned him and Captain Kidd  refused to cooperate with the politicians. Captain Kidd was sent for trial at the High Court of Admiralty in London on charges of piracy and the murder of his crewman.

.Captain Kidd Fact 21: Captain Kidd was found guilty on charges of piracy and murder. On May 23 1701 at Execution Dock in Wapping, London he was hanged and his body gibbeted (hung in a cage and left to rot) over the River Thames.

Influence & Legacy: Legend has it that on his return to America, Captain Kidd hid treasure taken from the Quedagh Merchant in the hopes of using it to get himself out of trouble. This story has led to many instances of treasure hunters trying to locate the hidden treasure of Captain Kidd

Short Facts about Captain Kidd for Kids
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