Here is the second installment of #CaptainKiddHistory. These historical tidbits about Captain William Kidd are told by Billy, the main character of my upcoming middle grade adventure PIRATE ISLAND. Billy discovered and wrote down these tidbits while doing research to find Kidd’s lost treasure but before he actually looked for it on Pirate Island. Let’s give a big welcome to Billy!
1688 to 1689 – Mutineer and Captain
by Billy Bonny
In the lost years from Kidd’s birth (in 1645 or 1654…see my last entry about his unknown date of birth) to the late 1680s, Kidd made his way from Scotland to the Caribbean. If you know anything about pirating in this time period, the Caribbean was the place to be. There were also what were called privateers there as well. A privateer is sort of a legal pirate. Where a pirate goes around attacking and stealing from any ship they feel like it, a privateer has the backing of their government to attack ships from any country they are at war with. The loot would then have to be shared with the government.
So Kidd finds himself working on a French privateer ship when England and France go to war. Kidd and the other English members of the crew mutiny and sail the ship to Nevis, an island in the Caribbean that was an English colony. This is when he first becomes captain of a ship, which is renamed Blessed William. It’s pretty cool that they named the ship after him. It became Kidd’s job to defend Nevis from the French and pay himself and his crew with whatever loot they took from the French. In the eyes of English law, even with the mutiny on the French ship, Kidd is a privateer and hasn’t really broken the law (though I’m sure the French weren’t too happy with him).
A thrice cursed island, a legendary pirate treasure, and one not-so-brave boy. What could possibly go wrong?
For centuries, the whereabouts of Captain William Kidd’s lost pirate treasure has remained a mystery. When Billy’s best friend, Andy, proposes they look for it on nearby Pirate Island, Billy thinks it’s just another one of their crazy adventures. It’s usually Billy who ends up in trouble as a result, but he goes along for the ride…like always. The more he delves into the life and death of Kidd, the more he thinks the treasure is real and that it might be buried on the small island in Long Island Sound. Billy—nope, call him William—becomes obsessed with the captain of the same first name. He even believes he’s possessed by Kidd’s restless soul. Now he and the spirit of a long-dead pirate are leading the crazy adventure on Pirate Island. And what they find is far bigger than the treasure they imagined.