10 Most Successful Pirate Captains
10. William Kidd (Scottish, 1645 – 1701)
A 18th century portrait of pirate William Kidd by Sir James Thornhill.Public domain
William Kidd was famous Scottish privateer who has crossed the line into piracy. Most of pirate captain's achievements came in his "legitimate days" while he was battling pirates and the French army in the West Indies. Captain Kidd moved to the colony of New York when he was five-years-old, and when he was around 40s, Captain Kidd became an elite citizen and one of the best privateers in his time. His remarkable success was conquest of Mariegalante where Captain Kidd captured booty worth more than £2000.
William Kidd's also started well when his new crew turned him into the pirate captain. Kidd captured famous ship called the "Quedah Merchant" but later he failed miserably.
François l'Olonnais the Bucaneer.Public domain
Outrageous French buccaneer who was best known for his cruelties was also very successful as he captured many ships and raided numerous towns. This pirate was probably one of the most successful captains who ordered land attacks. He raided cities Maracaibo and Gibraltar in the Gulf of Venezuela and later with great sea-power and with over 700 buccaneers he quickly captured the port of Puerto Cabello. Captain L'Ollonais died while attempting raid on another rich town, San Pedro.
8. Blackbeard (English, 1680 - 1718)
Blackbeard in the General History of the Pyrates.Public domain
Maybe Edward Teach aka Blackbeard was not as successful as other pirate captains on this list but his post-fame and his villain figure in today's fiction made every of his deeds look even more fascinating. Blackbeard's notable successes were capturing many ships including the "Concorde" that became his flagship "Queen Anne's Revenge" and this vessel is perhaps most famous pirate ship ever.
This pirate captain also captured sloop "Adventure" and acquired sloop "Revenge" from pirate Stede Bonnet. When his fleet was most potent, with four ships and up to 300 pirates, Captain Blackbeard defeated famous warship, HMS "Scarborough" in sea-battle as well as many other British ships throughout 1718.
7. Henry Every (English, 1653 - ?)
An 18th-century depiction of pirate Henry Every.
Captain Henry Every was a very successful pirate, in his time he was one of the most feared pirates of the Red Sea. With his fleet of 5 ships and crew of very experienced pirates, he captured many ships including famous Grand Moghul's "Gang-i-Sawai". However the fact that he was very famous pirate captain and that he was managed to stay alive and retire peacefully is very rare achievement amongst pirates.
6. Cheung Po Tsai (Chinese, Early 1800s - Mid 1800s)
Picture of Cheung Po Tsai a 19th-century Chinese pirate. Public domain
Cheung Po Tsai, a fisherman's son and a later pirate captain was best known and prosperous Chinese pirate during the 19th century. In the height of Cheung's power, his fleet counted an army of 20,000 men and several hundred ships. Cheung Po Tsai collected enormous treasure that was later found in a small cave. Today, that cave is named after him.
5. Peter Easton (English, 1570 – 1620)
Interesting fact about Peter Easton is that he is not well-known as other pirate captains on this list, despite all of his success. Captain Easton was a servant of the English Crown, who turned to piracy. He was best known as pirate captain who was never defeated by anyone commissioned to hunt him down.
His vast and powerful fleet counted 40 ships and over 1500 men in the height of his power. Peter's most significant victory came in 1610 in Newfoundland against Sir Richard Whitbourne's fleet as he defeated 30 ships. He also captured many prize ships including famous Spanish ship "San Sebastian".
4. Sir Henry Morgan (Welsh, 1635 - 1688)
Henry Morgan Welsh buccaneer.Public domain
Famous fearsome captain, Henry Morgan was a pride of Great Britain. Morgan success came when he arrived on Jamaica as England’s naval soldier. He made the first right step by joining a famous buccaneer, Captain Christopher Myngs in the conquest of Spanish colonies Vildemos, Trujillo, and Granada. With his success and good connections on Jamaica, he quickly became leader of Jamaican fleet.
With his new ranks Captain Morgan first successfully raided coast od Yutacan Peninsula and the wealthy town Granada in Central America. In 1677, he captured Puerto Principe in Cuba and straight after a well-guarded town Puerto Bello. In 1669, with he conquered the city of Maracaibo in Venezuela. However his biggest achievement was capture of Panama City, one of the richest city of that time, with 1200 buccaneers and 30 ships in truly epic battle.
Bartholomew Roberts with his sword.Public domain
Welsh pirate, Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts was probably last great pirate captain of Golden Age of Pirates but also the most successful one. This cold-blooded pirate was best known for plundering more than 400 ships which is absolute record amongst pirates.
Capitain Roberts burned or sold most of these vessels and only exceptions were superior ships such as two warships, both named "Royal Fortune" with 26 and 52 cannons and Royal Africa Company's prize ship, the "Onslow". He died in legendary battle against British Government's Captain Challoner Ogle.
SirFrancis Drake English, an sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era.Public domain
Sir Francis Drake was the most famous privateer and one of the most notable sailors in the history of the world. Captain Drake played the most significant role in creating a role-model for pirates in the Golden Age of Pirates. He was an English hero because of his achievements, however to Spaniards he was nothing but the most hated pirate captain as he devastated Spanish army on many occasions.
Most famous of his conquest were on the port of Nombre de Dios in 1572 and ports of Santo Domingo and Cartagena in 1585. Captain Drake is probably even more famous for sailing around the world, and when he landed on Pacific coast of North America, he Claimed the land for the English Queen and called it Nova Albion or the "New England."
1. Cheng I Sao (Chinese, 1785 – 1844)
Now merge all ships and vessels of previous nine pirate captains in this list, then gather all pirates and sailors they had, and you couldn't have nearly enough power to beat mighty fleet of beautiful captain, Cheng I Sao.
In the height of her power, former prostitute controlled more than 1,500 ships and had the manpower of 80,000 sailors which was one of the biggest naval armies in the history of the world. This female pirate captain used her super large army for robbing and taxing towns and plundering ships throughout the coast of the South China Sea.