25 Most Feared Pirates To Ever Set Sail

Posted by on May 31, 2013

When most people think of piracy they probably think of skull and crossbones, eye patches, and wooden legs. While these would all certainly be true to some extent; at its core, piracy has always been about the plunder. If there were nothing to steal there would be no pirates. As it is, however, from centuries past to this very day pirates are alive and well on the high seas. These are the 25 most feared pirates to ever set sail.


William Kidd

William “Captain” Kidd was a Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer. Kidd’s fame springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial. His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not, were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other contemporary pirates and privateers.


Peter Easton

Peter Easton was a pirate in the early 17th century who operated along the Newfoundland coastline between Harbour Grace and Ferryland from 1611 to 1614. Perhaps one of the most successful of all pirates he controlled such seapower that no sovereign or state could afford to ignore him and he was never overtaken or captured by any fleet commissioned to hunt him down.


Edward Teach

Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies. Although little is known about his early life, he was likely born in Bristol, England. A shrewd and calculating leader, Teach spurned the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day picture of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded his vessels with the permission of their crews and there is no known account of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive. He was romanticised after his death and became the inspiration for a number of pirate-themed works of fiction across a range of genres.


Francois L’Ollonais

L’Olonnais first arrived in the Caribbean as an indentured servant during the 1650s. By 1660, his servitude was complete and he began to wander the various islands, before finally arriving in Saint-Domingue and becoming a buccaneer. A year or two into his piratical career he was shipwrecked near Campeche in Mexico. A party of Spanish soldiers attacked his crew, killing most of them. L’Ollonnais himself survived by covering himself in the blood of others and hiding amongst the dead. He managed to escape and made his way to Tortuga where he held an entire town hostage, demanding a ransom from its Spanish rulers. The governor of Havana sent a ship to kill him, but l’Olonnais captured and beheaded the entire raiding crew save one, whom he spared so that a message could be delivered to Havana: “I shall never henceforward give quarter to any Spaniard whatsoever.”


Edward Lowe

Known for being a hoodlum-turned-pirate, Edward Lowe spent his childhood pick pocketing and beating up people for money. As he approached adolescence, he became a ship rigger and went in with a sloop sailing to Honduras where he had his first experience of piracy. It has been said that he often tortured his captives as he sailed around the Azores and teamed up with other notorious pirates who practiced sadism just as he did.