Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts

Black Bart was a Welsh Pirate who harried the coasts of the Caribbean and West Africa. Originally named John Roberts he changed his name to sound more piratey. After several years of honest merchanting aboard slave ships he turned pirate for fun and profit.

In an honest service there is thin commons, low wages, and hard labour. In this, plenty and satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power; and who would not balance creditor on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst is only a sour look or two at choking? No, a merry life and a short one shall be my motto.

He was lauded by crews for his magnanimity as well as being "pistol proof", at least according to "Charles Johnson" aka Daniel Defoe who can be credited with creating his fame and that of most pirates you could name off the top of your head.

Black Bart amassed a fleet of pirate ships and was active as a pirate for nearly five years fairly successfully. He pirated the lucrative trade routes off of West Africa and amassed quite a haul of booty, which on his person.

Roberts himself made a gallant figure, at the time of the engagement, being dressed in a rich crimson damask waistcoat and breeches, a red feather in his hat, a gold chain round his neck, with a diamond cross hanging to it, a sword in his hand, and two pairs of pistols slung over his shoulders ...

He was eventually killed in battle off Africa. For battle, he dressed to the nines and led his ship into battle hoping to sail past its pursuer and run for it. Unfortunately, it was not to be and "pistol proof" Roberts proved to not be "Cannon proof."

What has survived Roberts is the articles of his crew, which are among the most famous, even getting a nod in the Pirate's Code of the Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.

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