Bartholomew Roberts, also known as Black Bart, was easily one of the most successful and deadly pirates in all of history.  He went to sea at a young age and quickly assumed the position of Third Mate.  After his ship was taken by pirates, and he was made to join their ranks, Roberts proved himself and was elected captain in 1719.  He later stated that "It is better to be a commander than a common man, since I have dipped my hands in muddy water and
  must be a pirate."
      Two years after Roberts was made captain he had accumulated over 51 million pounds worth of treasure and had taken close to 400 ships throughout the Americas, Africa and Europe.  His skill had nearly halted Spanish importing and exporting while having lasted this time traveling the Navy Plagued waters, the Caribbean.  By this time he had renamed himself Bartholomew Roberts and acquired the nickname "Black Bart."
      He decided to return across the Atlantic in order to sell his stolen goods.  From there he then proceeded to pillage the African Coast where he took several slaves.  This eventually led to a confrontation with the Royal Navy patrol in February of 1722.  After catching Robertís consort, the Great Ranger, a British warship, the HMS Swallow, commanded by Captain Chaloner Ogle, caught up to the pirates off the coast of Cape Lopez (present day Gabon).  In an attempt to escape, Roberts tried to flee, sailing before the wind to gain the advantage.  Ogleís ship arrived at dawn and Roberts headed his sloop back towards the pursuer in hopes of sailing past then out to the open sea.  As the ships passed each other, Ogle released cannon fire on the pirates.  When the smoke cleared, Roberts was found dead.  He had been killed instantly and his body lay slumped over a cannon.  To prevent Roberts' corpse from being seized, his crew threw his body overboard into the sea.  The rest of the crewís hopes were shot, so the pirates decided to flee.  However, the topmast was damaged and they had to surrender after three hours of ineffective sailing.
      The crew was taken prisoner and later tried for their crimes in what was the largest pirate trial and execution of that time.  Close to 55 were hanged and 37 more were sentenced to be prisoners.  The remaining few were acquitted.  70 other African pirates were sold into slavery.  After this incident piracy almost completely died out.
    Despite his brief career, Roberts created a reputation that can never be surpassed.  Along with his success and bloodthirstiness, he was said to have been "an unusual character for this age, described as tall, good-looking, teetotal, and always well dressed.   He possessed a ruthless skill in the piratical arts of intimidation and seamanship, and was highly  regarded by his crew."

.

Home | Blackbeard | Calico Jack | Anne Bonny | Mary Read | Stede Bonnet | Bartholomew Roberts