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.
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
Wright - English galley commanded by Captain Spelt
Unknown Portuguese Ship
Unknown large Dutch ship with 26-guns
Near Gold Coast Ghana
Unknown Dutch Ship
George - English East Indiaman
Prince Eugene - ship from Ostend
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
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.
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.