Picture of the Day: August 27 | HistoryNet MENU

Picture of the Day: August 27

6/12/2006 • Picture of the Day


Although his name is synonymous with swashbuckling pirates, New York sea captain William Kidd denied to the end of his life that he ever acted like one. In 1696 Kidd reluctantly became a privateer for England and was expected to fight pirates on the open sea, seize their cargoes, and provide a hefty share of the spoils to the Crown. According to his British accusers, Kidd turned to piracy himself as the deadline for reporting to his employers in New York approached and he had not taken enough booty to fulfill his commission. Kidd himself did not know he was a wanted man until he dropped anchor in the West Indies in April 1699. He chose to surrender to the authorities and submit to a London trial, believing to the end that he could clear his name. After a trial in which important evidence in his favor was suppressed, Kidd was found guilty of piracy and hanged on May 23, 1701.

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