- He once told the captain of a captured Boston merchant ship off South Carolina: "I am a free prince, and I have as much authority to make war on the whole world as he who has a 200 sail of ships at sea and an army of 100,000 men in the field." - He was fond of fine clothes like Stede Bonnet and wore four pistols in the sash over his velvet coat. He tied his long dark hair with a black bow. - In 1984, the wreck of the Whydah became the first pirate ship ever recovered from the sea. Among the relics were coins, cannons, and the ship's bell, all of which are in a museum display in Provincetown on Cape Cod.
Buy Flag (more info) Samuel Bellamy was born in Devonsire, England, and his early years were probably spent as a sailor like so many from the area. In apparent lust for more treasure than a sailor could get, he left his wife and family behind in a town near Canterbury in the early 1700's and headed to America to participate in the lucrative British privateering that was assaulting loaded Spanish treasure ships headed home.
While living in Cape Cod in 1715, Bellamy heard of the Spanish Treasure Fleet sinking in a storm off the coast of Florida and convinced a wealthy friend Paul Williams to finance a ship to participate in the salvage. After joining with the existing efforts, a disagreement erupted between Bellamy and the leader of the operation, and he wound up turning to piracy, looting the camps of the salvage divers along with pirate Henry Jennings.
By 1716, Bellamy was in New Providence as an understudy along with Blackbeard to Benjamin Hornigold, who was known for his generosity to prisoners, and hesitance to plunder English ships. When the crew insisted around June of that year on attacking ships from any nation, Bellamy was elected as captain of Hornigold's Mary Anne and Hornigold was deposed. He and his quartermaster Williams began to engulf a string of 50 or more ships in the following months around the Caribbean, and by 1717 his lead ship was the square-rigged Sultana, his assistant getting the Mary Anne for his own.
Pirates in New Providence
Samuel Bellamy - Pirate Prince
In February 1717, Captain Samuel Bellamy and company caught up with their richest prize after a three day chase: the slaver Whydah from England was headed for Jamaica, a 300-ton ship with a huge load of ivory, indigo, sugar, gold bars and countless Spanish silver coins. The "Pirate Prince" was kind enough to give his Sultana to the Whydah's former captain, and the Whydah had 28 guns added to it.
Sam Bellamy goes down
In April 1717, a decision was made to sail northward along the Atlantic coast, whether it was to avoid capture or to visit friends and family, no one knows for certain. After being blown north toward New England by a sudden storm, Rhode Island was chosen as a destination; their governor tolerated any piracy that he could benefit from.
At night on May 17, the Whydah struck a sandbar in heavy fog and capsized off Cape Cod. Samuel Bellamy drowned along with most of his crew, two men on his ship and another seven on an accompanying ship survived, seven in all were hung in Boston.