Captain John Rackham

John Rackham was nicknamed "Calico Jack" because of the calico britches and coat that he usually wore. He was not one of the most infamous pirates in history, but is better known because of his connection to the two famous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Rackham is first mentioned in pirate history as the quartermaster of the pirate ship 'Treasure' in 1717 under the captain Charles Vane. Rackham later deposed Vane as captain of the ship after Vane was ruled incompetent by the other crewmembers for neglecting to attack a French ship which seemed promising.

Rackham then sailed to a small deserted isle for some rest. While at the island 2 sloops from Jamaica surprised Rackham and his ship was seized. Rackham found his way to Providence Island where he asked for a pardon from Governor Rogers. He was granted his pardon in May 1719. It was while he was at Providence Island that he met Anne Bonny who was the wife of James Bonny. Calico Jack is best known for his relationship with Anne Bonny, whom he stole away (willingly) from her wastrel husband. Rackham and Bonny along with others stole a sloop in late 1719. The pirates sailed between Haiti and Bermuda taking several small ships. They fought side by side in battle, and eventually he turned over control of the ship to the two women, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

In late October, 1720, off the coast of Jamaica, a British Navy sloop, commanded by a Captain Barnet, came across Rackam's anchored ship.  With most of the crew drunk the only resistance the pirates put up was offered by Anne and Mary. Rackham and his crew were tried along with Anne Bonny and Mary Read in November, 1720. All were convicted and sentenced to hang. Read and Bonny were spared their lives as they were both pregnant. Rackham was hanged on November 28th. Rackham would probably have gone down in history as an inconsequential figure of his day if it were not for his association with the two women pirates.

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