Famous Pirate: Thomas Tew

"Wicked and ill-disposed person."

During the 1690s, Thomas Tew (sometimes spelled as Too) was one of the most famous Red Sea pirates. King William III mentioned him by name in his Royal Warrant issued to Captain Kidd for his pirate hunting as a specially "wicked and ill-disposed person".

Little is known about Thomas Tew before he arrived in Bermuda in 1692. According to some sources, he had wealthy family in Rhode Island. During the conflict with France, he served as a privateer on English ships. Soon, Tew was elected as a captain of Amity Venture.

From the Governor of Bermuda, Thomas received permission to attack French ships and colonies on the African coast. With Captain George Drew, he was supposed to join the Royal African Company and attack the French factory at Goori, in Gambia. However, after a storm damaged Captain George Drew's ship, Tew abandoned his original plan and became a pirate. He persuaded his crew easily because their initial assignment was too risky, and their salary was not good enough.

Picture Of Thomas Tew

On the journey to the Red Sea, Tew encountered a great Indian ship with more than three hundred soldiers, beside seamen. Yet, Tew and his pirates dared to attack them! After a short battle, Tew was victorious, and each of his men received £3,000 as his share. Informed by the prisoners that this ship was part of a convoy, Tew wanted to attack the rest of them. However, the quartermaster and most of the crew were against that. Tew and his crew decided to settle on the island of Madagascar.

Soon after, Tew went to Rhode Island and obtained a pardon. He lived there for some time but "found the call of the sea and the lure of the "grand account"; too great to resist". He took command of a pirate ship and sailed to the Red Sea.

In 1695 Tew attacked a big ship belonging to the Great Mogul. However, this time, his prey was well-armed. During the battle, he was mortally wounded.

His historian tells us, "a shot carried away the rim of Tew's belly, who held his bowels with his hands for some space. When he dropped, it struck his men such terror that they suffered to be taken without further resistance". Many of Tew's pirates were executed immediately. The rest died in prison in India.

Picture Of Thomas Tew
Picture Of Flag Of Pirate Thomas Tew
Picture Of Flag Of Pirate Thomas Tew
NameThomas Tew
Known AsWicked and ill-disposed person
Activity RegionRed Sea