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Captain Kidd Ship Found

December 16, 2007

The wreck of a treasure ship captured by the British pirate Captain Captain KiddWilliam Kidd 309 years ago has been found in the Caribbean.

Lying in just 10ft of water, the Quedah Merchant is on the seabed off the island of Hispaniola, which is split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Marine archaeologists are amazed that the wreck, which was scuttled in 1699, has lain undiscovered for so long.

Examining shipwreck

Already its barnacled- encrusted cannon and anchors are being examined and the vessel is expected to reveal a wealth of information about piracy in the Caribbean and the romantic but ruthless Kidd.

Johnny Depp partly modelled his Pirates Of The Caribbean character, Captain Jack Sparrow, on the Scots-born mariner.

Charles Beeker, an Indiana University expert called in by the Dominican Republic government to research the wreck, said: “I couldn’t believe everybody had missed it for 300 years. I’ve dived on thousands of wrecks and this is one of the first that has not been looted. It’s a wonderful historical find.”

Historians believe the ship was scavenged of treasure and burned shortly after Kidd abandoned it.

Born around 1645, the callous corsair was a clergyman’s son from Greenock, near Glasgow, who moved to New York for adventure.

He started his seagoing career as a privateer – a mercenary licensed by William III to hunt Britain’s enemies, usually the French or Spanish-The Crown was supposed to get ten per cent of privateers’ plunder, but Kidd often kept all his loot.

In 1695 he left London in the Adventure Galley, a 284-tonner with a crew of 150 and 34 cannon. Late in 1696, he attacked a British East India Company convoy and was declared a pirate.

In 1698, he took his greatest prize, the Quedah Merchant. A 400-ton Moorish trader from Armenia, it was loaded with gold, silver and fine silks. The Adventure Galley was by now rotting and leaky. The Adventure Galley

So he scuttled her, renamed the Quedah Merchant the Adventure Prize, and sailed for the Caribbean – where the Adventure Prize was scuttled.

Kidd then went north in a sloop, but his one-time backer, the Earl of Bellomont, lured him to Boston and captured him. Found guilty of piracy and murder, Kidd was hanged on May 23, 1701 at Execution Dock in Wapping.

During the execution the rope broke, so he was hanged again. His body was locked in a gibbet – an iron cage – and left dangling over the Thames for two years as a warning to other would-be pirates.

Go to BAJR Blog for a humorous version: 

http://bajrblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/shiver-me-shattered-trowel-freebooters-ahoy/

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