Who was Captain Kidd and why did he become famous?


In class, we briefly discussed Captain Kidd, and I tried to explain why he was so famous. I didn’t do Captain Kidd justice. So here’s an explanation of who he was, and just why he became so famous.

We don’t know much about Captain William Kidd’s early life. He was probably born around 1645, according to tradition in Greenock, the port for Glasgow, Scotland. The first we hear reliably of him, in 1689, he was a buccaneer in the Caribbean. And just like Morgan, he was working with the government, which made him a privateer, not a pirate.[i] He played a role in a successful raid on a French island that gained Kidd personally £2,000 in booty. Not bad.

I, William Kidd, am a gentleman of wealth I, William Kidd, am a gentleman of wealth

Not bad, except that Kidd’s crew mutinied while he was ashore, and turned piratical, which is to say they ceased to operate…

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