Photo by: James B Roger.
It's been over a week since my last official blog post, but I have been publishing poetry here at #themodernistson, as well as working on my next book. About a week ago on twitter, I mentioned that my next blog post meant a specific milestone for myself and my blogging team. In less than a year since our existence, we have published one-hundred blog posts on this website. Of course, this is a big deal. So, I decided to hold off on writing my article about "Black Sam" Bellamy until now. Personally, I believe "Black Sam" is more than deserving of filling this spot.
The Legend of "Black Sam":
Despite his career as a pirate lasting little more than a year, "Black" Sam Bellamy was regarded as the richest pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, and of all time.
"Pirates have technically been around since Ancient Greece, but it’s the notorious Pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries that captured the cultural imagination with their theatricality and legends, which still have a lasting impact today." (https://epikfails.com/2014/09/19/the-golden-age-of-piracy-part-one/)
Although pirates during this era (say, 1715 to 1720) were known for their ruthless behaviour and violence (think about Henry Jennings), Black Sam was quite different from the rest of his comrades. You see, Samuel Bellamy knew what it was like to be treated unfairly. Interestingly, Black Sam's reputation was more or less, everything you wanted it to be. Yes, he might have captured at least fifty-three ships for his own benefit, but he was rather polite in the process.
Samuel Bellamy died at the age of twenty-eighth in 1717, when a tropical storm capsized his vessel while Bellamy and his crew searched for Spanish treasure. Prior to his career as a pirate, and working with Benjamin Hornigold, and Edward Teach (later became Black Beard), Bellamy worked for the English Navy. Since the Spanish War ended around 1714, Bellamy was left unemployed. Following the Spanish War of Succession, Bellamy found himself stationed in the United States. More specifically, Bellamy was living in Massachusetts.
A view of the Town of Boston in New England and British ships of war landing their troops, 1768. Source: Based on an engraving by Paul Revere, 1768. Boston Public Library collections. Long Wharf is shown.
While stationed in America, Bellamy fell in love with a young woman named Maria Hallett. However, Maria's parents were wealthy and did not view Bellamy as a suitable partner for their daughter. Let's say Bellamy wasn't killed in 1717, would the joke not be on Maria's parents? This man became rather wealthy in a short amount of time.
Bellamy quickly became the richest pirate of all time, and this was not through acts of violence. Instead, Samuel Bellamy (he referred to himself as the "Pirate Prince") was known for his compassion, and genuine concern for those he conquered. For example, if your ship was conquered by Black Sam, he would likely ensure your safe return to land, and probably give you some of the riches he was already taking from your crew.
Why would someone do this, especially during the Golden Age of Piracy? Well, Black Sam was very much anti-establishment. Prior to joining Benjamin Hornigold's crew, Bellamy was informed he was not good enough by his girlfriend's parents. Not surprisingly, Bellamy set out on a journey to prove this was simply not the case. In the world of piracy, violence was often used as a means of becoming the greatest to sail the seas. However, Bellamy did not believe in this concept. Instead, Bellamy sought to prove society's rules and regulations were not a necessary aspect of life, and that peoples could become the greatest on their own merit.
Black Sam... Folk Hero:
Interestingly, Samuel Bellamy did not become a folk hero in death due to his lack of violence. Actually, it was because he would wear his long black hair at shoulder-length, or have it tied back. In terms of Bellamy's anti-establishment ideologies, refusing to wear a traditional white wig was another way of proving society could not make decisions for him.
Of course, there's more to this concept of "folk hero" than his long black hair. Since Bellamy and his crew were all about this anti-conformist mindset, he became known as the "Robin Hood of the Seas." With respect to this folk hero, Robin Hood was known for stealing from the rich and providing the poor peoples of England with better lives. So, for Samuel Bellamy his choices were made as a means of proving he was capable of much more than society was able to determine.
Based on his willingness to stand up against an oppressive society, I would refer to Samuel Bellamy as the "pirate king"- despite his career lasting just over a year.
(c) One Piece (anime). Gol D Roger was the original "king of the pirates."
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