Captain Benjamin Hornigold

English Privateer & Pirate

Born: Unknown

Died: 1719

The first accounts of Hornigold place him on the scene after the War of the Spanish Succession, 1713, as a pirate in the West Indies and American coast. Like many others, he probably served on a privateer during the war and turned to piracy after the war ended. In 1716, or so, he is placed leaving New Providence Island in the Bahamas with Edward Teach (Blackbeard) among his crew. Teach (apparently an apt pupil) was given command of a French sloop taken off St. Vincent in the West Indies. The two captured several ships off the American coast and raided in the Caribbean during 1717. Toward the end of the year, they seized a French ship loaded with gold, jewels and other items of value. The two then parted company. Teach, hearing news of Rogers' trip to New Providence departed for America; Hornigold remained in New Providence. When Woodes Rogers, appointed governor of the Bahamas, arrived in 1718 Hornigold was there to welcome him as one of the leaders of a rabble of pirates that remained on the island. Rogers extended the king's pardon to Hornigold among others. Rogers thought highly of Hornigold and commissioned him as a privateer to hunt pirates. Hornigold set off in pursuit of Charlie Vane and Stede Bonnet. He pursued Vane to Long Island Sound, but lost both Vane and Bonnet during the chase. A later conflict with some small band of pirates caused Rogers to again turn to Hornigold for help, and this time he was successful, bring in 13 of the band. It is quite interesting to note that a man considered by many to have been a founding pirate leader after the War of the Spanish Succession was turned to, by all accounts, a faithful privateer in the service of Woodes Rogers. One can only speculate that Hornigold had turned to piracy as a trade when the war ended out of necessity and returned to legitimate privateering at his first opportunity. About 1719, Hornigold was sent to Mexico on a trading voyage. Hornigold's ship struck a reef far from land and it is presumed that he perished.

Click on the Piece of Eight to return to the Main Page