Edward Coates (pirate)

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Edward Coates was a colonial American privateer in English service during the King William's War and later a pirate operating in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean during the mid-1690s.

In 1689, Coates originally signed aboard the Jacob as a sailor in a privateer expedition, then under the command of a Captain William Mason, and commissioned by the colonial officials in New York to raid French shipping off the coast of Quebec "to war as in his wisdom should seem fit". However, unable to find French vessels, Mason began raiding English shipping and distributing the spoils among his crew, including Coates, eventually adding up to 1,800 pieces-of-eight per crewman.

Apparently withholding a portion of the crew's shares, Mason disappeared after stopping at an uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean. Coates, later suspected to have murdered Mason, assumed command of the ship, stopping at St. Mary's Island (near Madagascar) along with the 16-gun Nassau in October 1692 [1], before returning to New York. Upon their arrival in April of the following year, Coates arranged a deal with Governor Fletcher to pardon their former acts of piracy, as well as assuring no interference from New York authorities against further attacks, in exchange for $1,800 which would be divided between the Governor and other colonial officials (as well as presenting Fletcher's wife with jewels, silks, and cashmere shawls [2]).

Sailing to the Red Sea in 1694, among Coates crew were quartermasters Samuel Burgess and Robert Culliford, operating for several years before his eventual capture and execution several years later.

Further reading[edit]

  • Carse, Robert. The Age of Piracy. 1965.
  • Rogozinski, Jan. Pirates!: Brigands, Buccaneers, and Privateers in Fact, Fiction, and Legend New York: Da Capo Press, 1996. ISBN 0-306-80722-X
  • Dow, George Francis and John Henry Edmonds. The Pirates of the New England Coast, 1630-1730. Courier Dover Publications, 1996. ISBN 0-486-29064-6

External links[edit]