Age of Pirates

Pirate Encyclopedia: Edward England

Despite his name, Edward England was, in fact, an Irish pirate, his real name being Edward Seegar. He changed his name when he changed his career from naval officer to pirate, after his Jamaican trading sloop (a single-masted vessel) was taken over by the New Providence pirate Christopher Winter in 1717.

In 1718 they were attacked by Woodes Rogers, governor of Jamaica, an avid anti-piracy official, in their Bahamas stronghold. Captain England made his escape to the African coast and the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, where he and his fleet captured several vessels themselves. Captain England traded his sloop for a larger vessel, "The Pearl," which he renamed the "Royal James."

He returned to Africa in the spring of 1719, and on the way to the Cape of Good Hope took ten more ships, three of which they released after plundering, and four of which they burned. They kept two of the ships for their own pirate fleet, the "Mercury" and the "Katherine", and renamed them the "Queen Anne's Revenge" and "The Flying King" respectively. These two ships left England's fleet and headed for the Caribbean, and England took two more ships, the "Peterborough" and the "Victory," of which he kept only the latter.

Edward England and his mate John Taylor sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian Ocean, after careening in Madagascar. In 1720, it was from there that England exchanged the "Royal James" for a new flagship -- the "Fancy," a newly captured thirty-four gun Dutch ship.

England and Taylor returned to Madagascar in August 1720, where they got into a conflict with a Dutch ship and an English ship belonging to the East India Company. Taylor took on the Dutch vessel, while England pursued the English one, until its captain James MacRae ran it aground. The cargo of "The Cassandra," taken by England, was valued at 75,000. However, this booty came at a cost of ninety deaths aboard the "Fancy." For this catastrophe, Taylor wanted revenge upon the now-ashore crew of the "Cassandra," but England decided to let the men sail away on the "Fancy." This caused Taylor to lead a rebellion, during which he had Captain England and three others marooned upon the island of Mauritius, near Madagascar. England and the men managed to fashion a small boat out of scraps of wood and sail to the nearby Madagascan St. Augustine's Bay. England ended up having to beg for scraps of food, and died in 1720. His legacy is that of being a humane pirate, only allowing his crew to torture victims when he could not persuade them otherwise.

Copyright 2006 CleverMedia
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