Blackbeard's Pirates Be Hanged! January 28, 1719: According to the log of HMS Pearl, whose sailors played a critical role in the November 1718 sea battle that killed Edward Thach near Ocracoke, N.C., two of the condemned pirates were taken from the ship and hanged on the Hampton, Virginia waterfront on this day. ... See MoreSee Less
On the 28th of January, 1687, Royal Navy ship the Drake sailed into Port Royal, with onlookers spotting four pirates hung from its yardarm as it approached. The pirates; Joseph Bannister and three of his crew.
Bannister had spent over six years as a merchant captain on the Golden Fleece, running trade from Jamaica to London, but after the Golden Fleece wrecked in 1684, Bannister fell in with the pirate crowd from Port Royal; as repairing his ship would be costly. He went out on the account, and Governor Molesworth of Jamaica would dispatch ships to track down Bannister, but he would remain elusive for years.
In time, Captain Spragg of the Drake would capture Bannister and his crew near the Mosquito Coast, finding them living alongside natives. Spragg had been given the right, from the governor, to try and convict Bannister on the way back to Port Royal if he ever were to catch him, as Bannister had become known for his trickery and had escaped from situations before.
Not long before arriving in Port Royal, Bannister and three of his men had their arms bound behind their backs, and were one at a time hanged from the yardarm. The sight of the ship arriving reportedly brought great joy to Governor Molesworth, with him writing a letter to London stating:
”It was a great spectacle of great satisfaction to all good people, and of terror to the favorers of pirates, the manner of his punishment being that which will most discourage others, which is why I empowered Captain Spragg to inflict it.”
(pictured are four pirates hanged from a ship’s rigging [from Black Sails], and a look at a depiction of Port Royal [from Drain the Sunken Pirate City]) ... See MoreSee Less