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Anne Bonny And Mary Read, 18th Century
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Mary Read (1680/1690-1721) was an English pirate. She is remembered as one of only two women (her comrade, Anne Bonny, was the other) known to have been convicted of piracy during the early 18th century, at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy. Read's mother disguised illegitimately-born Mary as a boy after the death of Mary's older, legitimate brother to continue to receive financial support from his paternal grandmother. Dressed as a boy, Read then found work as a footboy, and later found employment on a ship. In male disguise, she joined the British military, proved herself through battle, but she fell in love with a Flemish soldier. When they married, she dressed as a woman for the first time in her life. Upon her husband's early death, Read resumed male dress and boarded a ship bound for the West Indies. In 1720 she joined pirate John "Calico Jack" Rackham and his companion, Anne Bonny. Anne Bonny (1702-1782) was an Irish red-haired beauty and considered a good catch. She married a poor sailor and small-time pirate named James Bonny and the wound up in the Bahamas, Anne began mingling with pirates in the local taverns. She met John "Calico Jack" Rackham, captain of the pirate sloop Revenge, and became his mistress. In 1720 Rackham and his crew were arrested and brought to trial in Jamaica, where they were sentenced to hang for acts of piracy. The women escaped the noose when they revealed they were both pregnant. Read died in prison in April 1721, but there is no record of burial of her baby. Official documents state that Read died of fever associated with childbirth. Bonny disappeared from the historical record, presumed to have lived a long life in Colonial America.
June 2nd, 2013
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