Benjamin Hornigold was an English pirate from the early 18th century who operated in the waters of the Caribbean, specifically in the Bahamas. Best remembered for establishing the ‘Republic of Pirates’ – a pirate stronghold in Nassau on the Bahamian island of New Providence – in later life he switched sides and became a pirate hunter, helping to bring down the confederacy he had created.
Becoming a Pirate During the Golden Age of Piracy
Very little is known about Benjamin Hornigold before he became a pirate. It is believed that he was born around 1680, and that he may have originally been from the English county of Norfolk. Based on the latter, it has been speculated that Hornigold might have initially served on ships sailing from either King’s Lynn or Great Yarmouth. Hornigold only became a pirate in the 1710s, with his first recorded act of piracy taking place in the winter of 1713/4. In that year, Hornigold began to loot merchant ships off the coast of Nassau, New Providence, using sailing canoes known as periaguas, and a small sloop.
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