Cactus Gallery LA
PIRATE ANNE BONNY by artist Christine Benjamin
OOAK Mixed Media Art Doll - needle felted wool, hand sewn vintage fabric, vintage buttons, and beads, sculpted hands and boots, 20” tall
Anne Bonny was an Irish pirate operating in the Caribbean, and one of several noted women in piracy. Bonny took part in combat alongside the men, and the accounts of her exploits present her as competent, effective in combat, and respected by her shipmates.
Red haired Anne was considered a "good catch", but may have had a fiery temper; at age 13, she supposedly stabbed a servant girl with a table knife. She married a poor small-time pirate named James Bonny. James hoped to win possession of his father-in-law's massive estate, but Anne was disowned by her father.
There is a story that Bonny set fire to her father's plantation in retaliation; but no evidence exists in support. However, it is known that, she and James Bonny moved to Nassau, a known sanctuary for English pirates called the Republic of Pirates. Many inhabitants received a King's Pardon or otherwise evaded the law.
While in the Bahamas, Bonny began mingling with pirates in the local taverns. She met John Rackham, captain of the pirate sloop Revenge, and Rackham became her lover. They had a son who was either left with family in Cuba or simply abandoned. Bonny rejoined Rackham and continued the pirate life, having divorced her husband and marrying Rackham while at sea. Rackham, Anne and a second pirate woman, Mary Read, went on to recruit a new crew and spent many successful years in Jamaica and the surrounding area.
Rackham and his crew were attacked but most of Rackham's pirates put up little resistance as many of them were too drunk to fight. However, Read and Bonny fought fiercely and managed to hold off troops for a short time. Rackham and his crew were were convicted and sentenced to be hanged in Jamaica. Bonny's last words to Rackham were: "Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hang'd like a dog."
After being sentenced, Read and Bonny both "pleaded their bellies": asking for mercy because they were pregnant. Both women received a temporary stay of execution until they gave birth. Read died in prison, but there is no historical record of Bonny's release or of her execution.