Pirate Facts In Charleston
Some of the most famous pirates known throughout the world have close ties to Charleston, South Carolina! In the golden of piracy (1670-1720), Charleston Harbor was a hub for pirates such as Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, and Anne Bonney to sell their stolen goods. Here in Charleston is where Blackbeard initiated one of the most successful port blockades in history. In 1718 he held the harbor for 6 days and captured all ships that entered the harbor or attempted to leave. His demands were quickly met and the blockade ended. Stede Bonnet was also known as the gentleman pirate and frequented the Charleston waters. At one point he was pardoned by the governor of North Carolina but later returned to piracy and captured by order of the South Carolina Governor and hung in Charleston. Anne Bonny is known as one of the most famous female pirates. She grew up in Charleston starting at the age of 10 when around the age of 20 she set fire to her father’s property and left. It is said that she came back in her late 20s and lived out her life here until her death.
More Pirate Fun Facts about Charleston
- The early settlement of Charles Towne Landing was established with the help of pirates and their spending of Spanish gold and silver with local merchants when they came into town.
- The Ship “Bachelor’s Delight” was a Dutch vessel that was captained by George Raynor. The ship left Charles Towne to voyage the Red Sea and returned with about 1 million English pounds of gold and silver that were taken away from the Spanish.
- The source of rice in South Carolina came by way of pirates from Madagascar. Rice seed was given to Governor Landgrave Thomas Smith, who planted the seed in his home garden on Longitude Lane. Rice seed became the biggest cash crop in South Carolina.
- John Boone of Boone Hall Plantation was removed from the Governor’s Council for doing business with pirates.
- Two signers of the United States Constitution, Charles Pinckney, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney can trace the foundation of the family fortune back to piracy as Thomas Pinckney was a member of George Raynor’s crew.
Edgar Alan Poe
The legend of Edgar Alan Poe being stationed at Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina is an interesting one. Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1827 under the name Edgar Perry. He lied about his age and name. He was stationed here in Charleston from November 1827 until December 1828. During this time it is speculated that he fell in love with a young girl Anna Ravenel. It is assumed this love story inspired his poem “Annabel Lee”. Anna’s father didn’t approve of their relationship and did everything in his power to keep them apart. Eventually, Poe was stationed somewhere else and Anna passed away from illness and was buried in an unmarked grave. Some say that her father didn’t want Poe to be able to find her even in death. Anna’s unmarked grave is in the Unitarian Church Graveyard in Charleston. Many have said that they have seen the ghost of Anna Ravenel or someone of her likeness. Maybe she is looking for her long-lost love!