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Who is Anne Bonny?

Anne Bonny (maiden name Cormac) was brought into the world around 1697 in Cork, Ireland to a lawyer father, William and his house servant, Peg Brennan. This article will reveal why Anne is considered a noteworthy figure in the history books.

Once word hit the air that Anne’s father was having an affair, he not only lost his wife, but also his practice, as he chose to live with Brennan and Anne in Charles Town (now known as Charleston), South Carolina. It was there that he started a new life and career. However, life was not all roses. Once his wealth grew to the point where he could live on his own plantation, he lost his love to a deadly fever.

During Anne’s first years in the United States, she had a strong relationship with her father and she was developing nicely into a knowledgeable woman. He taught Anne how to run the plantation. She was also known to have a fiery temperament and was more than able of taking care of herself. One tale describes a sound beating that a man received after making inappropriate advances.

As she grew older, she longed for adventure, which prompted Anne to take a part-time pirate named James Bonny as her husband. The two had a dangerous relationship that her father did not approve of. In the end, he wound up rejecting his daughter for her decision.

Anne and James were drawn to a life of piracy, which encouraged the duo to visit New Providence, Bahamas during the early 1700s. Unfortunately, they found themselves at odds with one another and their union collapsed when James became an informant for a governor Woodes Roger, who wanted to put an end to pirating activities. Anne Bonny moved on and in May, she met Calico Jack Rackham. She had finally found the pirate of her dreams.

This incensed James Bonny and sought help from Rogers to have her flogged for adultery. He also declined Rackham’s offer to purchase Anne’s divorce. Shortly after, Anne gave birth to a child that she sent to Cuba to be raised with other pirating families. She was set on starting a life with Rackham. Hanging around the crew of a sloop, Anne plotted on the best way to obtain the vessel for herself. After successfully stealing the sloop, she and Rackham sailed the seas together with Anne dressing as a man.

Over time, it became quite apparent that Anne knew how to hang with the rest of them , fighting just as well as the next man. The crew aboard their stolen sloop raised quite a ruckus throughout the Caribbean, attacking local merchant ships and fishing vessels.

Dressing as a man had its complications, as Anne would soon find out. She found herself attracted to a Dutch sailor, who would later turn out to be an English woman named Mary Read. Becoming close friends, Mary’s secret was revealed to Rackham, who had been consumed with jealousy beforehand.  It was then common to see the women only dressed as men before and during a battle.

Finally, Anne was captured and was placed on trial, but accounts state that she was never hung. Details of her end are cloudy. Some believe that she made peace with her father, while others would like to believe that a former pirate bought her acquittal and took her back to Charles Town to live the end of her days with him.