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A portrait in oil of what the youngest pirate looked like (according to us).

John King


Here be some trivia and lore about our infamous hero:


  1. Young Buccaneer: John King was likely the youngest pirate known in history. He was around 10 years old when he joined the ranks of pirates. Imagine the usual woes of 10-year-olds, then juxtapose that with a life amid cannons and cutlasses!

  2. Determined Debut: According to some accounts, when the ship John was initially on was captured by pirates, he was so adamant about joining them that he threatened to harm himself if they didn't let him. Talk about enthusiasm!

  3. Tiny Treasures: Among the artifacts recovered from the Whydah Gally, the shipwreck where John perished, were a small shoe and silk stocking believed to belong to John. These tiny relics provide a poignant reminder of the young pirate.

  4. Wreck Riches: The Whydah Gally, the ship John was on, is the only verified pirate shipwreck ever discovered. And it contained a massive treasure trove – over 200,000 artifacts have been retrieved, making it an archaeological goldmine (literally and figuratively).

  5. A Movie Star?: John's story is so compelling that there have been talks in the film industry about featuring his life and the discovery of the Whydah in movies and documentaries.

  6. Not the Average Schoolboy: While most boys his age would be learning arithmetic or perhaps daydreaming about adventures, John was living one—navigating the challenges of pirate life, from climbing the rigging to perhaps even partaking in the division of spoils.

  7. Bellamy's Protegé: Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy, the captain of the Whydah, was known for his democratic leadership and his fair treatment of the crew. It's intriguing to ponder what kind of mentorship or camaraderie the renowned pirate offered to young John.



The Astonishing Tale of John King: The Boy Buccaneer

In the annals of piracy, amidst tales of swashbuckling rogues and ships laden with treasures, emerges the rather curious story of John King - the boy pirate. Yes, you heard it right! A youngster, whose age didn't deter him from embracing the wild waves and even wilder life of piracy.

Most children of the early 18th century were preoccupied with simple play or farm chores. But not John. He reportedly joined the pirate Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy at the tender age of 10, and his decision was anything but child's play. According to records, he came aboard Bellamy's ship after they captured the vessel he was on. Rather than being scared or wanting to return to his mother's skirts, young John was, shall we say, bitten by the buccaneer bug? He threatened mutiny if not allowed to join the crew!

Now, for those imagining a tiny terror waddling around with an oversized cutlass, it might not be entirely accurate. But it's believed that John was passionate about his decision. What motivates a young boy to take on such a life? Adventure? Rebellion? A really bad week at school? We might never know.

Alas, John King's pirate career was short-lived. Within a year, Bellamy's ship, the Whydah Gally, was wrecked in a storm off Cape Cod. Most of its crew, including our young buccaneer, met a watery end. But John's legacy endured.

In 1984, when underwater explorer Barry Clifford discovered the wreck of the Whydah, among the treasures and artifacts, they found a small shoe and silk stocking, believed to have belonged to young King. It's a melancholic testament to a boy who wanted to live on his own terms, even if it meant taking the path less traveled—or sailed, in this case.

Now, one might ponder: did John ever yearn for a different life? Maybe, but when the sea calls, some are just too captivated to resist—even if they've barely outgrown their childhood shoes.

Further Reading:

  1. "Pirates of the Whydah: The Unstoppable Legend of John King." — by David Harrison.
  2. "Youth Aboard Pirate Ships: Life beyond John King" — by Lorraine Phillips.


After ye be done perusing this parchment, steer yer ship to the vast treasure trove on our main pirates website!

Full Name: John King

Known aliases or nicknames: None recorded.

Birth date: Unknown. Estimated around the early 18th century based on the period of his activity.

Death date: Believed to be 1717, when the Whydah Gally sank.

Place of birth: Unknown. Specific details about his early life and place of birth are not well-documented.

Type of pirate: Real pirate. He was a member of the crew of the Whydah Gally, a genuine pirate ship.

Areas of operation: The Caribbean and the Atlantic coast of the American colonies, particularly around the coast of Cape Cod.

Physical Description: Detailed physical descriptions are not available due to the lack of contemporary records and portraits. However, he was a boy of around 10 years old at the time of his death, so he would have been relatively small in stature.

Flag/Emblem: John King sailed under the flag of Captain "Black Sam" Bellamy. Bellamy's flag depicted a white skeleton on a black background, with the skeleton holding an hourglass in one hand, a representation of fleeting time, and striking a bleeding heart with a spear in the other, likely signifying the heart's betrayal or the ferocity of the pirates.

It's worth noting that John King's life, while adventurous, was short-lived and many specific details about him have been lost to time. Much of what we know is based on the discovery of the Whydah Gally and the artifacts therein.