Pirates of New England contains compelling accounts of the colorful personalities behind treachery, murder, and mayhem in the waters of coastal New England during the “Golden Age of Piracy,” from 1630 to 1730, as well as a description of how New England’s leaders tolerated, even encouraged, piracy during the colonial period.
Numerous pirates had close ties to New England. The most notorious might have been Edward Low, known for his creative torture techniques, and William Kidd, remembered for his sensational trial and rumored buried treasure. Thomas Tew, the “Rhode Island Pirate,” was one of the founders of the legendary anarchist colony Libertatia in Madagascar. Daniel Plowman plundered ships under official license; he was killed by his first lieutenant , John Quelch, who was hanged in Boston Harbor and buried face down in the muck as a final insult. Other infamous New England pirates include Adam Baldridge, Charles Harris, and Francis Spriggs.
The book also includes material on why New England had such a large concentration of pirate activity, and how the official reaction to it changed over the years—from winking toleration to brutal crackdown.
Gail Selinger is a maritime historian and pirate expert who served as a consultant on the History Channel’s Modern Marvels: Pirate Tech. Her commentary appears on the DVDs of The Princess Bride and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. She is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pirates and lectures on pirates and pirate history. She lives in San Marino, California.