The Tragic Execution Of The Pirate Captain Kidd

World History Encyclopedia says that during the Golden Age of Piracy there were many criminals who sailed the seven seas.The years between 1690 and 1730 spawned the legendary tales we hear today of Black Bart, Calico Jack, Blackbeard, and Anne Bonny. One man who is arguably the most famous pirate of this time period is known as Captain Kidd. According to Biography, this privateer turned pirate had quite the adventurous journey on the high seas before he met a rather awful end. So who really was Captain Kidd, and what did he do to end up on the wrong side of the law?

William Kidd was born in Scotland in 1645 and became an accomplished seaman early on in his life. By the time he reached his mid-30s, he was a respected privateer — essentially a pirate, but working on behalf of the government, instead of just for himself. When war broke out between England and France he was hired by the British to protect their ships from French forces also stationed in the Caribbean. Kidd was very good at his job and things went pretty smoothly for a while, until they didn't.

His fate is sealed by picking on the wrong ship

Around 1696, multiple things began to go wrong for the accomplished Captain Kidd. Between sick and dying men and a lack of French ships to attack, he was caught between a rock and a hard place. He decided to sail down to the Indian Ocean, and that is where his destiny took a fateful turn. Kidd and his men attacked and stole a ship called the Quedagh Merchant, says Biography, which turned out to be a huge mistake. That particular vessel happened to be owned by someone with powerful connections to the English government and the equally powerful East India Trading Company. Because of this, Captain Kidd was now branded a criminal — specifically, a murdering pirate.

Kidd was eventually tracked down and arrested in America before being deported back to England. In May of 1701 he was put on trial (per History), and despite his previous connections to the higher-ups in British society, he was convicted of five counts of piracy and one count of murder. History Today relates that he was sentenced to death by hanging, but this wasn't your average execution. William Kid was hanged like the "pirate" he was (though the rope reportedly snapped the first time). His body was then chained to a post off the coast and allowed to decompose, a warning to others who might be tempted to practice piracy. Despite his demise, the legend of his time at sea and his supposed missing treasure still lives on.