Pirate Black Bart Roberts roamed the Atlantic from age thirteen in 1695 until his death in an ambush by the Royal Navy off Cape Lopez on the Guinea coast in 1722. Those years, coinciding with the Golden Age of Piracy, are chronicled here in excerpts from first-hand accounts and court documents, with vintage illustrations and maps, and the superb historical analysis of Terry Breverton.
Though more famous pirates Blackbeard and Captain Kidd serve as the greater icons of piracy, during their lifetimes of activity they took only thirty vessels between them, compared to Black Bart’s more than four hundred. Today’s image of a pirate includes a drunken sway within the swashbuckling, and few would argue that many a crew and captain of the era were prodigious drunkards. Again, Black Bart Roberts breaks the mold. Not only was he a Christian who ordered his musicians to play hymns each Sunday, he was also famous among his seagoing contemporaries for his abstention from alcohol. Tall for the time, and dressed head to toe in red silk, Black Bart was a striking figure whom maritime history will not soon forget.