Famous Pirates and Privateers G-I
Sir Michael Geare
Active late 1500's
Geare's first voyages were under Captain Sir George Carey.
He then worked for John Watts from 1588 through 1591. In 1591 he was made captain of the Little John,
which was one of five ships under the command of William Lane.
According to Lane's accounts, Captain Geare was in the forefront of most of the fighting, gaining
for himself a rather large booty plus extra loot by smuggling goods into England. Captain Geare bought
a share in the Little John and renamed her the Michael and John. From 1592 to 1595,
Captain Geare had four successful versions in the ship. In 1595, Captain Geare encountered a
Spanish warship near Havana. The battle cost the lives of 50 of his crew as well as a pinnace,
the Spanish prize he had captured. Captain Geare fled the action in the Michael and John and
was able to recoup some of his losses by taking of another Spanish prize, after which he
returned to England.
In 1596 Captain Geare commanded the Neptune and its pinnace with John Rilesden and Christopher
Newport. Toward the end of the year, Captain Geare along with 15 men, stole the pinnace plus
several more prizes before setting anchor at Jamaica where he joined Captain Sir Anthony Sherley.
Captains Geare, Sherley, and William Parker then sailed to Honduras.
In 1601, Captain Geare was in command of the warship Archangel and captured three valuable ships.
Captain Geare was able to get two of the ships back to England, but was separated from the third. The
crew of the third ship sailed her to Morocco where she was sold.
Captain Geare was instrumental in the capture of two Spanish warships as well as several other ships
during 1602 when his ship was part of a three-ship consort led by Christopher Newton.
In 1603, a wealthy Sir Captain Geare was knighted and retired to a large home in Stepney, a suburb of London.
See James Kelley
Felon Charlotte Badger and convict Catherine Hagerty were among other convicts who
seized the colonial brig called Venus while it was docked at Port Dalrymple so that the captain could
attend to some business delivering official dispatches. The pirates headed for New Zealand and the
Bay of Islands. In one story, the islanders hanged them along with four others, and in another account,
the two women, Charlotte and Catherine, had been living onshore, but Catherine Hagerty had become ill
and died in April, 1807. Charlotte and her child remained in the Bay, where it was believed that she
lived with a local maori rangatira for some time. She refused to return to Port Jackson even though
they were offered passage from several ships, including the Elizabeth, saying she wanted a passage to
America. Charlotte and her daughter were believed to have accepted a passage aboard a ship
on its way to Tonga.
Active early 1700's
Captain Halsey, originally hailed Boston. As a privateer, he
raided French and Spanish shipping in 1704 and by 1705 he received a new commission and
turned pirate and sailed to Madagascar in command of the Charles, which had 10 guns.
In late 1706, Captain Halsey was disposed by his crew who thought him to be a coward after
refusing to fire upon a larger Dutch ship in the Indian Ocean. His crew was convinced the ship
was nothing more than a merchantman. Captain Halsey's intuition was correct however for the Dutch
ship turned on the Charles and fired. Afterwards, Captain Halsey was reinstated as captain.
In 1707, Captain Halsey seized two coastal traders at the Nicobar Islands.
Then Halsey sailed to the Straits of Malacca. He found little success there, as his crew was now
afraid to fire upon any ship larger than their own after the encounter with the Dutch ship.
At Madagascar Captain Halsey picked up more crew and Captain Nathaniel North became Quartermaster.
While visiting Mocha in the Red Sea, August, 1707, Captain Halsey encountered a British squadron of
five ships with a total of 62 guns. Captain Halsey displaying immense courage and attacked the squadron.
The largest of the British ships fled and the others scattered in all directions. Captain Halsey captured
two of the ships, taking £50,000 in cash and cargo.
In 1708, Captain Halsey returned to Madagascar. A hurricane struck and destroyed his ships.
Captain Halsey was sick with a fever and died soon after. He was buried with great ceremony.
Of the ceremony, Daniel Defoe quotes: "He was brave in his person, courteous to all his
prisoners, lived beloved, and died regretted by his own people. His grave was made in a garden of
water melons, and fenced in with palisades to prevent his being rooted up by wild Hogs."
Hands was second-in-command under Captain Edward Teach aka Blackbeard.
Hands was given command of David Herriot's ship the Adventure after Herriot was captured by Captain
Blackbeard in March, 1718.
Captain Hands was with Captain Blackbeard in the attack on Charleston, South Carolina. Afterwards,
Hands settled with Blackbeard in Ocracoke, North Carolina. When Captain Blackbeard was killed by
Captain Robert Maynard, Hands was captured and taken to Virginia for trial. In exchange for immunity,
Captain Hands testified against corrupt North Carolina officials who had consorted with Captain
According to Daniel Defoe's "General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious
Pyrates," Captain Hands is said to have died a beggar in London and also wrote that Captain Hands
was shot in the knee by Captain Edward Teach after Teach fired at another member of his crew, striking
Captain Hands accidentally. Captain Hands supposedly asked Captain Blackbeard his meaning in this act, his
response was, "That if he did not now and then kill one of them, they would forget who he was."
AKA Little Jack
This German pirate of the
1570's attacked shipping in the North sea until he and his crew were captured and beheaded in Hamburg.
Sir John Hawkins
1532 - 1595
Captain Hawkins spent the years 1562 through 1568 making four voyages.
It was during these voyages that he became the first English slaver and the first Englishman to invade
the Caribbean which was largely of Spanish possession.
Captain Hawkins started his career as smuggler
while visiting the Canary islands with his father in 1562. He smuggled slaves from West Africa to the
Caribbean. Slave smuggling was extremely profitable at the time as Spain required all slavers to register
their cargo at Seville and Spain would take a portion of the proceeds thereby inflating the price.
A smuggler could sell directly to the Spanish colonies as the colonists were eager to get a good price,
so there was a ready market for those willing to take the risks. During these times, most pirates got
their start smuggling slaves.
In October 1562, Captain Hawkins took three small ships to Sierra Leone.
His purpose was to raid native villages (collecting slaves), and loot Portuguese ships. Captain Hawkins
had worked out an agreement between local officials whereby he could sell his cargo on the northern
coast of Hispaniola. Hawkins next went to England in one of his ships and sent the two others to
Seville. At Seville the Spaniards seized the cargoes. Although Captain Hawkins lost the two ship's
cargoes, he nevertheless made a substantial profit. Pirates realizing the profits made from slaving
increased their elicit trade and tensions between England and Spain increased. Spain suspended trade
with England and arrested English ships. Spain was immensely powerful at the time, controlling the
seas and most of the colonies of the Americas. As such Spain was the enemy of many European nations.
It was because of her control that England and France had planned a joint assault on Florida, but the
plan wasn't to come to fruition and Queen Elizabeth I, having heard of Captain Hawkins' success in the
Caribbean, decided to support him. The queen wanted Captain Hawkins to go on another slaving expedition
and the plan was financed by courtiers and merchants. The queen gave Captain Hawkins the 700-ton
Jesus of Lubeck and Captain Hawkins set sail with her plus three other smaller ships in
October 1564. Captain Hawkins sailed to Borburata, Venezuela pirating along the way. By the time
he reached Borburata, he had gathered around 400 slaves. After Borburata, Captain Hawkins sailed
to Rio de la Hacha. The Spanish officials tried to prevent Captain Hawkins' sale of the slaves by
imposing taxes. Captain Hawkins refused the taxes and threatened to burn the towns. The Spanish
were no match for Captain Hawkins' crew and backed down. After selling his cargo, Captain Hawkins
sailed to a French colony in Florida for a respite. Captain Hawkins returned to England in
September 1655, his expedition a total success as his financiers made a 60% profit.
The Spanish government, outraged at Captain Hawkins' activities, persuaded the English government
to forbid Captain Hawkins' next expedition. Captain Hawkins ignored the order from his government,
financing John Lovell with a contribution of three ships. Lovell's expedition, which included
Sir Francis Drake, left for Africa in October 1566. Lovell's voyage proved a financial disaster as
Lovell's force was too small to force Spanish trade. After the disastrous Lovell expedition,
Captain Hawkins once again gained support from the crown, and Captain Hawkins left England in
October 1567. This time, Captain Hawkins was in command of two royal warships and four smaller ships.
Captain Hawkins course was the same as his last expedition, but this time Sir Francis Drake
(who had joined the expedition) received command of a captured Portuguese ship, and Captain Hawkins
was forced to take hostages at Rio de la Hacha as well as burning part of the town to make the
Spanish permit trade. On the return voyage, Captain Hawkins ran into a severe storm which forced
Captain Hawkins to a nearby port. The closest port was San Juan de Ulúa in Mexico, and Captain Hawkins
anchored off an island in the harbor on September 15, 1568. At the island, Captain Hawkins took several
hostages. The next day a Spanish treasure fleet commanded by the viceroy of Mexico arrived at the port.
The viceroy, seeing the occupation by the English, ordered the Spanish forts and ships to attack on
September 23. Captain Hawkins' force lost four of the 6 ships as well as three-fourths of the crew
along with large sums of money. The remainder of Captain Hawkins' force arrived in England several
months later. Hawkins' days as a slaver were over and he settled into the title of Treasurer of the
Navy in 1577. In 1588 he became Naval comptroller as well as treasurer. While serving these positions,
Captain Hawkins rebuilt older galleons as well as helped design faster, more heavily armed ships.
He also improved the sailor's lot, providing better working conditions and more pay.
In 1588, Captain Hawkins commanded a squadron against the Spanish armada which was trying to
invade England. Captain Hawkins was knighted for his performance in the foray. Hawkins next tried,
unsuccessfully, to intercept the Spanish treasure fleet off Portugal with the aid of Martin Frobisher
in early 1590. Captain Hawkins next joined Sir Francis Drake in an expedition to the West Indies in 1595.
During the voyage, Hawkins became ill and died as the fleet was reaching San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Henriques the Englishman
AKA: Henry Johnson
In 1730 Henry Johnson, dubbed Henriques the Englishman by his Spanish crew,
was operating a pirate ship called the Two Brothers off the coast of Rhode Island.
Although Henriques was missing a hand, it did little to slow him down. In battle,
he would often start off by balancing his rifle on the stub of his arm and firing it with expert accuracy.
Afterwards he would drop the rifle and attack with his cutlass, swinging it madly at anyone
in his way.
Attacking the John and Jane off Swan Island near Jamaica, Henriques' pirates battled for almost five
hours before boarding the vessel.
Henriques was known as pirate who gave no quarter and asked for none in return, except in this
instance. The pirates had stripped the crew and were preparing to hang everyone on board in pairs
when Henriques heard the scream of a woman. Upon entering the cabin, he discovered one of his
pirates had stripped and was about to rape her. Henriques put a stop to it, forbade anyone to hurt her,
then had her belongings gathered up and let her go at the next port. He also stopped the other hangings
from taking place.
Henriques was wanted throughout the Americas yet he managed to have a
long career, confounding all pursuers and terrifying all in his wake. With the exception of his staunch
rule against violence against women, he was an extremely blood-thirsty pirate who was never captured.
Pirate Israel Hands was second-in-command under Captain Edward Teach aka Blackbeard.
Hands was given command of David Herriot's ship "Adventure" after Herriot was captured by Captain
Blackbeard in March, 1718.
During wartime, Captain Hoar captured a French ship. He was permitted to
purchase her and renamed his new ship the John and Rebecca.
After Captain Hoar received a privateering commission from Governor Benjamin Fletcher of New York
in December, 1695 he left Boston and sailed for the Red Sea with a stopover at Madagascar in April, 1696.
Captain Hoar joined Captain Dirk Chivers and they seized several Indian ships as well as European ships.
One of these was the Rouparelle.
Captain Hoar then sailed to the Persian Gulf where he captured a large Indian ship laden with cloth.
Afterwards, Captain Hoar sailed for Saint Mary's Island, arriving in February 1697. Saint Mary's Island,
which was a breeding ground for pirates. A large group in which to pick a crew from could always be found
there. While Captain Hoar was at Saint Mary's, the natives of the island attacked he was killed.
Active 1716 - 1717
Hornigold's ship was the starting point
for many of the more famous pirates.
Captain Hornigold left New Providence Island in the Bahamas with Captain Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard)
among his crew. He captured a sloop, which Captain Teach made captain of. They plundered six ships
in 1717 off the American coast and raided in the Caribbean. By the years end they seized a French ship
laden with gold, jewels and other booty and then parted company. Teach went to America and Captain
Hornigold to New Providence. When Woodes Rogers was appointed governor of the Bahamas Captain Hornigold
asked for and received a pardon. Rogers thought highly of Hornigold and commissioned him to hunt pirates.
Hornigold pursued John Auger among others. Circa 1719, Hornigold was sent to Mexico on a trading voyage.
Captain Hornigold's ship struck a reef far from land, all hands were lost.
Sir James Houblon
Active 1698 - 1703
Howard inherited a great deal of money but managed to squander every penny,
then fled to Jamaica where he stole a canoe with a motley crew. Howard and his small band seized one
ship after another until they ended up with a 24-gun ship. The crew elected Howard as her quartermaster.
The pirates raided off North America in 1698, then crossed the Atlantic where they plundered many
more ships along the West African coast.
In Circa 1700, their ship was wrecked on a reef off Madagascar. While they were trying to dislodge
their ship from the reef, Howard and others stole all the treasure.
A time later, Howard became the victim. He was marooned while hunting when his companions made off
with the treasure. Finally George Booth came along and Howard was rescued and joined the crew. After
Booth's death, Howard sailed under John Bowen. In 1701, Bowen wrecked his ship, the Speaker. They
eventually went to Augustine's Bay and Howard stayed behind and took up residence there for awhile.
Howard recruited another band with which he took the Prosperous, a 36 gun ship. Howard was elected
her captain and in 1702 rejoined Bowen. In March 1703 they plundered the British merchantman Pembroke
off Johanna Island in the Comoros Islands. In August, 1703, the two were found in the Red Sea where
they captured two Indian ships with more than £70,000 in booty.
They sailed to Rajapura, India and divided the booty, then the crews united on board the largest
of the Indian ships. Howard did not stay with them however, retiring a very wealthy man on the Indian
Daniel Defoe states: "Howard married a Woman of the Country, and being a morose ill natured Fellow,
and using her ill, he was murdered by her Relations."
Born in Marseille, this Frenchman lost his business in Haiti when the slaves
there demanded freedom. So he turned to piracy and made a fortune by raiding shipping out of Guadeloupe.