Famous Pirate: Henry Every
The Successful Pirate
Henry Every was a pirate with many aliases: John Avery, Long Ben, and Benjamin Bridgeman. He was so popular that many books and plays were written about him and his adventures. The most famous play was " The Successful Pyrate ". It is a story, about a pirate who supposedly retired after only one year of piracy and lived the rest of his life under a false identity as a rich man.
Little is known about Henry Every's life before his pirate's career. We presume that he was born around 1653 near Plymouth, England. He started his sea career on unlicensed slave ships. In 1694, he was a first mate on "Charles II", 46-gun Spanish ship that had a license to attack French smugglers around Martinique. He organized mutiny and was selected as the new captain. Every renamed "Charles" into "Fancy" and set course to the Cape of Good Hope.
Henry Every was one of the most feared pirates of the Red Sea. His reputation gave him a chance to organize the pirate's fleet. Famous pirate captains such as Thomas Tew, William Want, Thomas Wake and William May were sailing under his leadership. With five ships, he was powerful enough to attack even the well-armored treasure ships which were sailing between India and Middle East.
The biggest catch of Henry Every's career was "Gang-i-Sawai". It was part of Grand Moghul's of India convoy of ships. After spotting Every's fleet, Moghul's convoy scattered. Every continued to pursue them, but night stopped him. In the morning, only two ships were in Every's reach. After a short fight, the small one, Fateh Mohammed, surrendered, but the bigger 40-gun, Gang-i-Sawai resisted for two hours. Every was lucky because one of the cannons exploded on the Gang-i-Sawai heavily damaging the deck. Without strong leadership and with damaged ship, the crew of Gang-i-Sawai had to surrender.
Survivors were tortured to reveal hidden treasures and woman passengers were raped. Brutality in this era was not uncommon, especially because of religious and racial differences. Pirates counted about 600,000 pounds of plunder gold, silver and jewels. Each pirate received 1,000 pounds, which was worth as 80 years of honest sea pays.
Every disbanded fleet as many pirates even on the flagship decided to retire. With Fancy and leftovers of his original crew, Henry sailed to the Caribbean. In New Providence, he bribed the governor for protection, with 7,000 Pounds. Later he wanted to buy a pardon from Governor William Beeston too, but he did not succeed. Grand Moghul made 500 pounds bounty for his head , and he was not welcomed in the Caribbean and the English colonies.
Every changed his name to Benjamin Bridgeman and with leftovers of his crew, sailed to the Ireland. Some of them were captured and hanged, but Henry Every escaped and vanished into obscurity.
During the beginning of the 18th century Henry Every was subject of general conversation in Europe. There were many ridiculous stories, like one that he has married Grand Moghul's daughter, or the one where he founded a new monarchy. Also, today, historians can not agree about many facts of Every's life. Probably the most interesting disagreement is about how he ended his career. Contrary to many stories, a lot of people think that he died soon after his retirement as a poor sailor on the streets of London.
However, one thing is certain, Henry Every was a capable pirate, who was more popular during his lifetime than today.