Plastic Model Kits
Before 1689, Captain William Kidd was a member
of various buccaneer crews and eventually captained a privateer ship that was
commissioned to protect the Engli
colonies in the Caribbean against French attacks. Unlike Sir Francis Drake or
Sir Henry Morgan who sailed when governments sanctioned acts of piracy and benefitted
economically from such acts, William Kidd sailed in the last quarter of the 17th
century at a time when governments and investors were no longer willing to condone
the unruly actions of a few rogues but preferred to invest in regular, organized
commerce. It was William Kidd's misfortune to sail the seas as a privateer/pirate
just when the rules changed and the privateer/pirate became an outlaw.
In late January, 1698, the Quedah Merchant was sighted rounding the tip of India.
Flying French colors in order to trick the quarry, Kidd and his crew attacked:
the prize, yielded money plus a cargo of silk, muslins, calico, sugar, opium,
iron and saltpeter which could be sold at the nearest port for a rumored 7,000
pounds. The Quedah Merchant, renamed the Adventure Prize, was kept by Kidd as
he made plans to leave the area in his by now leaking ship. The date was March,
1698, nearly two years after leaving London. Unfortunately for Kidd, those two
years had brought a change of attitude in England toward piracy. Officialdom now
wanted to stamp out piracy in favor of legal trading procedures. And to make matters
worse, the Quedah Merchant was not just any cargo ship. It belonged to Muklis
Khan, an influential and highly placed member in one of the eastern kingdoms,
and he demanded that the East India Company, the English trading company in the
East Indies, make restitution. Not only had William Kidd committed an act of piracy
he had made an enemy of the commercial establishment in England! He would be made
Kidd arrived in the West Indies in April, 1699, in the Quedah Merchant,
the Adventure Galley having succumbed to rot. The word had been sent out from
England -- Kidd should be considered a pirate. Realizing that he would not be
safe in any of the normal ports, Kidd headed for Mona Island, an uninhabited island
found in the channel between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (present day Dominican
But in July, 1699, Kidd was captured and thrown into jail and then
sent to England in chains aboard the frigate Advice. His trial started on May
8th 1701 and was completed the next day. The verdict; guilty of murder and piracy.
Captain William Kidd was hanged on May 23, 1701, but not easily. The first rope
put around this neck broke so he had to be strung up a second time. Captain Kidd
would never sail again, but a legend would grow up around his treasure. How much
gold did he a actually have and where did he bury it?
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This page was last updated March 15th 2007.