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November 18, 1720 – Anne Bonny

November 18, 1720 – Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny reveals her gender to a surprised male pirate she was about to kill.

Jack Rackham and his male crew were hanged in Port Royal, Jamaica. The two female members of Rackham’s crew, Mary Read and Anne Bonny, were imprisoned by “pleading their bellies” – pregnancy. Read died of a fever in prison. What happened to Anne Bonny is uncertain. Like her early life, her later life is lost in shadow. Captain Johnson’s book first came out in 1724, so her trial was still fairly recent news while he was writing it, and he only says of her “She was continued in prison, to the time of her lying in, and afterward reprieved from Time to Time, but what is become of her since, we cannot tell; only this we know, that she was not executed.”

There are many versions of her fate and no truly decisive proof in favor of any one of them, so you can pick your favorite. Some say she reconciled with her wealthy father, moved back to Charleston, remarried William Burleigh and lived a respectable life into her eighties. Others say she remarried in Port Royal or Nassau and bore her new husband several children.