Famous Pirate: Howell Davis

The pirate of disguise and trickery

Howell Davis was a very attractive pirate, who didn't rely on arms and power as the other captains. As an intelligent and an astute man, he used all kind of tricks such as bribe and disguise to get what he wanted. His pirate career was short but really exciting.

Davis spent his entire youth on the ships. He showed a great talent and skillfulness, so the rank of chief mate, entitled him deservingly. In 1718 his pirate's life suddenly started. Famous Irish pirate, Edward England, captured the salver sloop "Carogan", the ship Davis served on. Impressed with England and his pirates, Howell had no doubts what he should do next and joined them. Davis became a pirate captain almost immediately because Edward England admired his abilities. Gentleness was one of Irishman's main characteristic so he gave command of "Carogan" to Davis.

Picture Of Howell Davis

He raised anchor for Brazil. The pirates were supposed to sell "Carogan" there, but crew liked that ship and persuaded captain to call off decision. So instead, they sailed to Barbados to dispose cargo. There he was accused for piracy. He spent a few months in prison. However, without no hard evidence on him, Davis was released.

Davis’s next destination was the Caribbean Sea and the islands of Bahamas. However, the governor of Bahamas, Woodes Rogers, made him change his plans. Davis boarded Rogers’s sloop "Buck" and persuaded crewmembers to raise a mutiny. When that happened, Davis was elected as a new captain, of course.

Davis and his crew captured two French merchant ships on north side of Hispaniola. The Second ship was heavily armed, but it was easily captured as they were fooled. Captain Davis decided to make the first one taken to look like a pirate ship. They raised pirate flag on that vessel and forced prisoners to waive their weapons so that they looked like the pirates. Scared opponent surrendered without a single gunshot.

Howell's best-working tactic was disguising. It was a unique ability for this trade. Davis was a perfect actor and a bluffer. He usually pretended to be a merchant or a pirate hunter, in order to trick careless opponents. These charismatic abilities made him quite popular and admirable among the crew.

Davis’s further actions took place at the West African coast. In that period another remarkable pirate joined him. It was Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart). The pirates captured slaver ship which he served on as a third mate. Since then he had been a special and a favored apprentice of Davis until his death.

Once, Davis went to the Royal Africa Company's fort dressed like a gentleman. Davis cleverly tricked the local governor who invited him to a dinner. The governor was captured and ransomed for a big prize.

In the following period, many various vessels were plundered including one rich Dutch ship. However, main catch was "Saint James", a 26-gun-warship, which astonished the pirates. Therefore, that vessel became Davis’s new flagship.

Picture Of The Death Of Howell Davis

Finally, Howell Davis was the one who had been tricked. Actually he planned to convince the governor of Principe Island that he was a pirate hunter. However, it was a devious ambush in that harbor for the unaware pirates. Davis took 5 shots before he was brutally slaughtered by the Portuguese soldiers.

In June, 1719 he was killed, suddenly and unexpectedly. After the incident, Roberts was elected as a new captain. He and the rest of the enraged pirates avenged Davis’s death. They burned and totally demolished the entire town.

Picture Of Howell Davis
Picture Of The Death Of Howell Davis
NameHowell Davis
Known AsCaptain Davis
Activity RegionCaribbean
ShipsFrigate Cadogan, Sloop-O-War Buck, Sloop-O-War Saint James, Frigate Royal Rover