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Jersey Shore

Captain Kidd

Treasure Hunt

 

 

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Captain Kidd

Believe it or not, there is treasure to be found on the beaches of New Jersey. Centuries ago, pirates roamed the shores of New Jersey and buried some of their treasure here. Captain Kidd's treasure chest is the most sought-after bounty on the coast.

William Kidd was born around 1645 in Scotland. He loved the ocean and adventure, and in 1689 Kidd captained a privateer ship for England. As captain, Kidd became wealthy by protecting English ships and attacking French ships. After his service ended, he moved to New York City and became a private captain. He also bought beach houses along the northeastern seaboard and rented them to people.

During this period, however, the governors of New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts were having problems with pirates. Because they were aware of Captain Kidd's prowess at fighting ships, they asked him to protect the coast from the buccaneers. He agreed to help the three states, and once again he was protecting ships on the high seas.

At this point in his life, Kidd was an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. In 1695 he received a privateer license for England, which permitted him to sail his own ship to protect the East India Company's fleet. The East India Company was an English business that traded goods with India. Captain Kidd's job was to attack French and pirate ships and take their cargos.

Captain Kidd named his privateer ship Adventure Galley. In order to find a crew, he first sailed from England to New York City, where he promised his chosen sailors portions of whatever treasure they captured. Captain Kidd then sailed to the Red Sea, which is near Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Upon arriving in the Middle East, however, Kidd spared many French and pirate ships. Instead, he and his crew attacked and looted wealthy ships from different countries. When his crew attempted a mutiny, Captain Kidd killed one of his crewmembers. After the murder, the crew abandoned all other attempts at mutiny.

This piracy marked a turning point for Captain Kidd. Soon he began attacking ships regardless of their countries of origin, including French vessels and other pirate ships. He solidified his new reputation as a pirate by attacking the Indian ship Quediah Merchant, which carried silks, gold, spices, weapons, and other riches well beyond imagination.

Captain Kidd and his crew commandeered the Quediah Merchant and renamed it the Adventure Prize. They sailed to the Caribbean, and while docked in Port Royale, the captain realized that he was now considered a pirate. He also learned that the British were hunting him, so he bought a new ship and moved his loot onto it. Captain Kidd then sailed to New York City to try to clear his name.

During his voyage, Kidd docked several times along the New Jersey coastline, where he used his political connections and wealth to make sure no one turned him in to the authorities. Soon afterwards the captain sailed for Boston, and upon his arrival, the governor arrested him for piracy. He was sent to England, given a quick trial, convicted of piracy, and sentenced to death for his crimes. British authorities covered him with tar, chained him, and hung his body off a bridge over the Thames River in London where it stayed until it rotted away.

Next: Treasure Hunt

 
 
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