Notorious Pirate Anne Bonny Narrowly Escaped Execution Because She Was Pregnant

Did Anne Bonny have children? As the story has it, the merciless pirate narrowly survived execution by revealing that she was pregnant at her 1720 trial.

Leila Kozma - Author

Mar. 16 2021, Updated 6:10 p.m. ET

Anne Bonny and Mary Read
Source: Getty images

Anne Bonny and Mary Read

"Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hang'd like a dog," were the famous parting words Anne Bonny addressed to her lover and partner in crime, Calico Jack (aka John Rackham). 

Anne likely joined Calico Jack and his team after she and her husband, John Bonny, moved to New Providence in the Bahamas. Calico Jack and the rest of the crew got busted in 1720. Anne survived the consequent trial because she was pregnant. Did she raise any of the children

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So, did Anne Bonny have children? If so, what happened to them?

Calico Jack's crew fell apart in 1720, after they got caught by the authorities. He and four other men were hanged at Gallows Point in Port Royal on Nov. 18, 1720. Anne was sent to prison alongside fellow pirate Mary Read (aka Mark Read) in the same year. 

Mary died in prison on April 28, 1721. She was likely buried in St. Catherine Parish, Jamaica. As some believe, Anne returned to Charleston, S.C., where she found a new man, settled down, and gave birth to several children. 

anne bonny mary read
Source: getty images

Anne Bonny and Mary Read

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The accuracy of the above-mentioned tale remains contested. There's little information available about what happened to Anne after the 1720 trial. Some outlets put down the date of her death to 1733. Others claim she may have lived on for much longer, potentially up until 1782. None of these are easy to corroborate, however, as resources detailing the later stages in Anne's life are harder to come by. 

1724 marked the publication of Captain Charles Johnson's seminal volume A General History of the Pyrates, which also touched on Anne's buccaneering years. While the real identity of the author came under contention — with some claiming that it was written by Daniel Defoe under the pseudonym of Captain Charles Johnson — the content of the book has long fascinated readers. 

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"She was continued in prison, to the time of her lying in, and afterwards reprieved from Time to Time, but what is become of her since, we cannot tell; only this we know, that she was not executed" reportedly states A General History of the Pyrates. 

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Anne was born in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland.

Anne Bonny was born Anne Cormac in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. Her exact date of birth is unknown, though some believe she likely came into the world around 1698. The daughter of a lawyer named William Cormac and a servant girl, Anne had life experiences that were somewhat different to those of her peers. 

Source: Twitter
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The family likely moved to Charleston (then Charles Town) when Anne was still young. 

Anne's mother passed away around the same time as she was turning 13. As some believe, the traumatic experience changed her a great deal, so much so that she, possibly as a form of revolt, stabbed a servant

Another anecdote illustrating her supposedly hot-tempered nature holds that she once beat up an attacker so bad that he had to be hospitalized. According to Britannica, her rare propensity for picking fights might have helped her land a spot on Calico Jack's ship. 

The Lost Pirate Kingdom is available on Netflix now. 

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