- Captain Kidd (1645-1701)
William Kidd was the son of a minister in Greenock> and was born around 1645. He emigrated to New York and married there, earning his living as a sea captain and a trader in the Caribbean. He successfully defended American and English trade routes in the 1690s in the war between France and England.
In 1695 Kidd sailed to London where he obtained a royal commission to act as a privateer against pirates in the Indian Ocean, operating from bases in Madagascar. Reports came back to England, however, that he was attacking merchant ships as well as pirates.
After capturing the fully laden "Quedah Merchant" with cargo worth over $100,000 (at historical values) he returned to Hispaniola (now Haiti). He was offered a pardon for his surrender and he sailed to Boston. He was treacherously captured and taken to London. In a rigged trial, with little real evidence and despite his claim that his crew had mutinied and he had no alternative but to join them, he was found guilty and hanged. The treasure from the "Quedah Merchant"> has never been found.
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