or the headstrong foolishness of youth?
or pampered child displaying demanding behaviour?
welcome dear ssg friends to the worlds youngest recorded pirate!
In the 1700's it was unfortunately the case that many young boys went to sea. For many it was a way out of poverty, the work was easy to find, many ships would take on a young 'un as a general dogsbody sorry cabin boy and those that worked hard could learn the trade and earn a living. It is said that The Royal Navy enlisted boys of a young age but there is no proof that anyone else as young as John King has ever been a pirate. For John King was aged from eight to possibly eleven.
More than that the reason for John becoming a pirate was not because of being poor, according to history he demanded to be a pirate!
the tale begins:
Samuel 'black Sam' Bellamy was going about his business in the eighteenth century, Bellamy attacked and took over an Antiguan ship by the name of Bonetta. The Bonetta was on route to Jamaica and King was a passenger and was between the ages of eight and eleven. When Bellamy’s crew took over the Bonetta, King demanded that he become a part of Bellamy’s crew. According to the story Bellamy and his crew raided the Bonetta for over two weeks during which King constantly requested to join them. When Bellamy refused King threatened to kill himself or worse, threatened his mother unless he was granted permission to become a pirate.
After many threats and demands Bellamy allowed King to join his crew. After this happened Bellamy’s crew was able to capture and raid a vast array of ships and gather an incredible amount of fortune. One of the main captures that Bellamy is known for was his takeover of the powerful ship by the name of Whydah. With the capture of the Whydah the crew was covered in treasure and fortune but it ultimately lead to their demise. On April 26, 1717 a storm subdued the Whydah and Bellamy, King and most of the crew was killed.
So we have a tale of a young boy filled with dreams of swashbuckling and treasure? the wild romance of the sea? he was eight! What on earth drove such a young lad to this? because it certainly wasn't money, His family had money. At the time he joined the pirates he wore French woven-silk stockings and leather shoes fastened with buckles, both of which reflected an “18th-century upper-class style” So much was his desire that he threatened to kill himself? or kill his mother! his poor mum! had this boy been so indulged throughout his young life that he whinges whines and threatens to get his own way ultimately leading to his death? or just a bored youth fed up with life expected of a well to do life? perhaps he hated the rituals and rigmarole of stately restrictions and longed for the freedom of a pirates life.... So many questions in tales of the past.
Ongoing excavations (around 2006 not sure of latest updates ) of the wreck of Bellamy’s Whydah Galley found a leg bone, or fibula, along with a silk stocking and a leather shoe. When these items were first discovered, most thought the items belonged to a small man. But Barry Clifford, head of the expedition, “showed the short fibula to expedition archaeologist John de Bry, and Smithsonian Institution expert David Hunt. Both agreed that the fibula belonged to a child age 8 to 11.” Kenneth J. Kinkor, Whydah researcher and maritime historian, said, “The stocking is made of woven French silk, and the shoe – which is only 2 inches in width at its widest point – is of upper-class design and craftsmanship, consistent with it belonging to John King. There is no definitive proof however and any ideas remain as simple speculation.
I am sure if it were posible I would take the opportunity to talk with young John King, I find his tale fascinating! I would love to know why he demanded to be a pirate, and whether or not the life lived up to his expectations!
this has been a short introduction to the youngest known pirate I hope you enjoyed it and have an excellent pirate sunday!