1720 – One of the most successful pirates was a feisty red-head, called Anne Bonny, who was granted a stay of execution on this date.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Born in Co Cork, Anne Bonny was the illegitimate daughter of lawyer William Cormac and his housemaid. They immigrated to America after Anne’s birth and settled on a plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. A headstrong young woman ‘with a fierce and courageous temper’, she eloped with James Bonny against her father’s wishes. James took her to a pirates’ lair in New Providence in the Bahamas, but in 1718, when Bahamian Governor Woodes Rogers offered the King’s pardon to any pirate, James turned informant. Anne was disgusted with his cowardice and soon after, she met and fell in love with the swaggering pirate Captain Jack Rackham. Anne was forced to masquerade as a boy throughout her childhood and life in the 1700s was much easier as a man than as a woman, so she reverted back to men’s clothing and started her life over, this time going to sea on a…

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