Christopher Contend

Christopher Contend was English pirate born in Plymouth Devon in the 1690s and one of the few who managed to retire and to live as a free man after his pirate career ended.

Contend's real name is unknown. In little historical data we have about him, he is sometimes referred as William, Christopher, Edmond or John, and by many nicknames Connor, Condent, Congdon, Condell. However, he was best known as Billy One Hand.

The exact time when Contend became a pirate is not known, but it is recorded that he killed an Indian crewmember when he threatened to ignite ship's powder magazines. Soon after than Christopher and his crew captured their first big price - merchant ship Duke of York.

Captain Condent Shooting The Indian

As Contend's was becoming more confident as a pirate, in 1718, infamous Woodes Rogers came to the Bahamas to deliver Kings Pardon and to eradicate the piracy. Wise enough, Contend escaped and left New Providence for Brazil. During this voyage, Billy One Hand captured several Portuguese vessels, including a ship carrying wine. During this period he was known for display of various savagery and cruelty, like cutting off ears and noses from Portuguese prisoners.

During next several years he managed to capture many vessels including:

In the area of Cape Verde

  • Flotilla of 20 smaller ships
  • Santiago - Dutch War Sloop, which he kept for himself and named it The Fiery Dragon
  • Wright - English galley commanded by Captain Spelt
  • Unknown Portuguese Ship
  • Unknown large Dutch ship with 26-guns

Near Gold Coast Ghana

  • Indian Queen
  • Fame
  • Unknown Dutch Ship

Indian Ocean

  • George - English East Indiaman
  • Prince Eugene - ship from Ostend

Arabian Sea

  • Arab Vessel – One of Condent’s biggest pirate scores, with estimated worth for more than 200.000$ (with inflation).

In early 1719 Contend established a base on the island of Saint-Marie Madagascar. He took some of the John Hasley's old crew and used their knowledge of the area to better plan his raids in the Red Sea and the Indian Coast.

Some other pirate captains, like Edward England and John Taylor, moved from New Providence to Madagascar too. They carried several raids together, like an attack on Cassandra ship, commanded by Captain Macrae.

In the following years, permanent presence of the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean made plundering much harder. Although, just a few years ago, known for his harsh treatment of prisoners, Condent took a much different path and ordered to treat captured crewmembers from East India Company with respect. This change of heart was just a first step at the end of his short, but a profitable pirate carrier. In 1721, Condent and his crew returned to their home base, Sainte-Marie and split the plunder, getting around £3000 each (Adjusted for inflation, each crew member got more than 800.000$!) Same year Condent and 40 members of his crew sailed to the Bourbon and negotiated with French Governor for pardons. Half of the crew settled on the island, and Condent even married governer's sister in law. Two years later, Christopher Condent moved to France and settled in the port city of Saint-Malo in the region of Brittany where he became a wealthy merchant.

Christopher Condent Pirate Flag

Contend died in 1734.

Christopher Contend's flag was a simple variation of the most popular Jolly Roger flag - three death's head and crossed bones next to each other.

On the Island of Saint-Marie, today called Nosy Baroha, there is popular Pirate cemetery, where it is believed some of the Cristopher Condent’s crew members are buried.

Although hugely successful (he lived to tell the tale), Christopher Condent was not one of the most famous pirates of the golden era of piracy. However, he was immortalized in the Uncharted 4: A Thief's End PlayStation 4 game, as one of the pirate founders of the hidden city of Libertatia. In the game, Libertatia is even located at the Saint-Marie, Christopher Contend's home base.

Captain Condent Shooting The Indian
Christopher Condent Pirate Flag
NameChristopher Contend
Known AsBilly One Hand
Activity RegionCape Verde, Gold Coast Ghana, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea