Charleston's Gentleman Pirate
Hundreds of pirates traversed the waters of the Atlantic during America’s colonial period, but few had a more adventurous tale than Stede Bonnet. Originally a wealthy plantation owner from Barbados, Bonnet abandoned his wife and children in 1717 to set sail on the pirate ship Revenge. He soon fell into company with Blackbeard in the Bahamas and headed for America. In May 1718, they arrived in Charleston and held the entire city hostage in a daring siege. Bonnet was eventually captured in North Carolina and transported back to Charleston, where he was brought to justice and executed on December 10, 1718. Join local pirate tour guide Captain Christopher Byrd Downey as he recounts the swashbuckling life of the most infamous pirate to ever darken the Holy City’s waters.
Charleston and the Golden Age of Piracy
The Golden Age of Piracy, encompassing roughly the first quarter of the eighteenth century, produced some of the most outrageous characters in maritime history. From its earliest days, Charleston was a vital port of call and center of trade, which left it vulnerable to seafaring criminals. The daring exploits of these infamous plunderers made thievery widespread along Charleston’s waterfront, but determined citizens would meet the pirate threat head-on. From the “Gentleman Pirate,” Stede Bonnet, to Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and famed pirate hunter and statesman William Rhett, the waters surrounding the Holy City have a history as rocky and wild as the high seas. Join author and tour guide Christopher Byrd Downey as he tells the tales of Charleston during piracy’s greatest reign.