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Captain Kidd's Adventure Galley

Kidd was born into a reputable family in Greenock, Scotland. After war broke out between England and France, he showed courage in winning a French ship and saving English troops from destruction. Kidd settled in New York in 1691, at the age of forty-seven. There he's married and had two daughters. The marriage eventually brought to Kidd a considerable amount of property. During this time Kidd was respected as an honest, hard-working ship captain. He befriended many prominent colonial citizens, including three governors.

Later that year, on orders from the province of New York, he captured an enemy privateer on the New England coast. Shortly thereafter, Kidd was awarded GBP150 for his outstanding privateer job in the Caribbean. One year later, "Captain" Culliford, a notorious pirate, stole Kidd's ship while he was ashore at Antigua in the West Indies.

Kidd was such a successful privateer in New York and the West Indies that he was called back to serve England. The King’s officers offered him a new powerful ship: the Adventure Galley.  The Adventure Galley was well suited to the task of catching pirates; weighing over 284 tons, equipped with 34 cannons, and 150 men.

Kidd took pride in personally selecting the crew. Unfortunately, soon after setting sail he was stopped by the HMS Duchess whose captain enlisted much of Kidd's crew for service in the navy. To make up for the lack of men, Kidd recruited a gang of cutthroats in New York. The vast majority of this group were hardened criminals, some former pirates.

Adventure Galley sailed for Madagascar. Months went by, with no acceptable victims found, many crew members left Kidd. The remaining threatened mutiny, pressuring Kidd to turn pirate to attack any and all ships. Kidd refused, and a fight between him and the ship gunner erupted. Kidd killed the man. After that incident, Kidd was changed, plundering ships of all kinds along India’s Malabar coast.

Acts of savagery on Kidd’s part were reported by escaped prisoners, who told of being hoisted up by the arms and drubbed with a naked cutlass. Kidd was then declared pirate by the Royal Navy.

On January 30, 1698 Adventure Galley took her greatest prize, the 400 ton Quedagh Merchant, which was loaded with valuable items and an incredible variety of East Indian merchandise.  That vessel sailed under the French protection.

When news reached England, the British East India Company declared Kidd a pirate. Various naval commanders were ordered to pursue and seize the Adventure Galley.

On April 1, 1698, Adventure Galley reached Madagascar. Here Kidd found the first pirate of his voyage, Robert Culliford, (the same man who had stolen Kidd’s ship years before). Kidd ordered his men to attack but his men mutinied and joined the the enemy. Only 13 of Kidd’s men remained.  Kidd had no choice but go home.

Prior to returning to New York City, he learned that he was a wanted pirate. With the help of his lawyer, he negotiated with the governor in Boston and eventually agreed to come in to town.

Outside New York, Kidd buried the bulk of the treasure on Gardiner's Island and attempted to use it as a bargaining chip for a pardon.

On July 6, 1699 Kidd was arrested.  He was found guilty on all charges (murder and five counts of piracy.)

Kidd was executed in 1701. He experienced a painful death: the hangman’s rope broke twice. His corpse was dipped in tar and displayed in an iron cage on the dock at Thames Estuary for two years as a warning to other would-be pirates.

Captain Kidd's name is still associated with a supposed buried treasure on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. His story gave impetus to the never-ending treasure hunts on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Long Island in New York, Charles Island in Connecticut, and Thimble Islands in Connecticut. This belief made its contribution to literature in Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Bug and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

Adventure Galley was burnt in San Maria, a formidable pirate base.  Her remains is still in the shallow bay of the island.


32" L x 27" T     sold out