Charles Vane

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Charles Vane - Pirate (Unknown - 1721)

Charles Vane was an English pirate who was famous for refusing the general pardon offered by King George I. Although a daring and fearsome pirate, he was deposed as Captain by John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham and branded a coward. He later became fictionalised as a character in the TV series Black Sails and video game Assassins Creed IV Black Flag.

This page details facts about Charles Vane's life and the events that shaped his history.

Charles Vane the Pirate - Fun Facts for Kids !
Charles Vane Fact   1: Nothing is known about the origins and early life of the English pirate Charles Vane, although he is believed to have been residing in Port Royal by 1716.
Charles Vane Fact   2: Charles Vane was a crew member of the privateer turned pirate, Henry Jennings. In 1716, under Jennings command, Vane took part in a raid on a Spanish salvage camp that was set up to retrieve the cargo of a Spanish treasure fleet. The fleet had been caught in a hurricane close to the Florida coast, in July of 1715, and lost its cargo of gold and silver.
Charles Vane Fact   3:

Captain Woodes Rogers was sent from England to become the new Governor. He brought with him a general pardon for pirates offered by King George l (dated 5th September 1717 to last until 5th September 1718). He was also in command of four Royal Navy warships to deal with those pirates who refused the pardon. Charles Vane snubbed the offer of the pardon however Jennings, along with many other pirates, accepted it.

King George I of England
Charles Vane Fact   4:

On 22nd July 1718 Charles Vane, who was in Providence when Woodes arrived, demonstrated his refusal to accept the pardon when he set fire to a recently captured French ship and set it on course toward Woodes and his fleet. During the melee that followed, Charles Vane managed to escape on his flagship, The Ranger, with his plunder whilst firing at one of the English ships.


Picture of King George I of England

Charles Vane Fact   5: A few days later Charles Vane captured a sloop from Barbados. He put twenty five men aboard as crew and gave command to a pirate named Yeats. A short while later he captured the John and Elizabeth which he also kept to build up his fleet. The small fleet headed north to the American Colonies.
Charles Vane Fact   6: Charles Vane and his fleet captured many more ships which they plundered and sometimes burned. On one occasion they captured a ship with approximately ninety Negroes on board. Charles Vane put the Negroes on board Yeats’ vessel which angered Yeats.
Charles Vane Fact   7: As with all of his crew, Charles Vane treated Yeats with a great lack of respect. The addition of the Negroes to Yeats’ ship aggravated the situation and led to Yeats resolving to leave Vane’s company at the first opportunity. Shortly afterwards, while the fleet was anchored for the evening, Yeats slipped his anchor cable and sailed off.
Charles Vane Fact   8: When Charles Vane realised what was happening he gave chase. He closed in on Yeats, who fired a broadside at him. Although his ship was undamaged, Charles Vane gave up the chase. Yeats and his crew entered a river south of Charles Town and sought the general pardon from the Governor. Yeats gave up the sloop and the Negroes before he and his crew received their certificates.
Charles Vane Fact   9: Charles Vane stayed nearby waiting, in vain, for Yeats to sail back out. He continued attacking and plundering more ships while he waited.
Charles Vane Fact 10: The Governor of South Carolina heard that Charles Vane was in the area and sent two well armed sloops commanded by Colonel Rhett to capture him. While searching, Rhett received information that Charles Vane had headed south and set out after him. This information had been put out by Vane to misinform anyone pursuing him. He had in fact headed north.
Charles Vane Fact 11:

In October 1718 Charles Vane met with Blackbeard at an inlet in North Carolina. He remained there for a week or so before resuming his journey north.

Blackbeard the Pirate
Charles Vane Fact 12:

On 23rd November 1718 Charles Vane came across a ship and hoisted his pirate flag. On seeing this the other ship, which turned out to be a French Man of War hoisted its flag, trimmed it’s sails and headed straight for Charles Vane.

Charles Vane Fact 13:

Charles Vane turned away as he decided attacking would be too great a risk with the French ship having twice their manpower. However Vane’s Quartermaster, John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, backed by the majority of the crew, wanted to board the ship. As pirates respected the rule that the Captain has the final say, the crew accepted Vane’s decision.


Picture of Blackbeard the Pirate

Calico Jack the Pirate Charles Vane Fact 14: The following day the crew voted to replace Charles Vane with Calico Jack. Vane was branded a coward and put aboard a small sloop with the others that hadn’t wanted to board the French ship. They were given a quantity of provisions and ammunition to enable them to fend for themselves.
Charles Vane Fact 15: Charles Vane sailed to the Bay of Honduras to continue his piracy. He attacked and plundered several ships, rebuilding his fleet as he went.
Charles Vane Fact 16: In February 1719 Charles Vane was separated form his fleet when they were hit by a storm. His ship was wrecked off a small island and many of his crew drowned, however Vane survived and remained on the island, with scant provisions, for several weeks.

Picture of Calico Jack the Pirate

Charles Vane Fact 17: Eventually a ship anchored off the island to take on water. Expecting to be rescued, Charles Vane approached the ship and found it was captained by an old acquaintance of his, an old Buccaneer called Holford. Captain Holford refused to take Vane aboard as he believed that, unless he carried him as a prisoner, Vane would plot with the crew and take the ship from him. Holford told Vane that he would be back at the island in a month and, if he was still there, he would take him to Jamaica to Hang.
Charles Vane Fact 18: After Holford had departed another ship arrived and, not knowing Charles Vane, they took him aboard. A little while later, this ship met up with Holford’s ship and, being acquainted with each other, Holford was invited aboard to dine with the Captain. While aboard he glanced into the hold and spotted Charles Vane. Holford told the Captain who he had rescued and, after the Captain expressed his desire to be rid of him, agreed to arrest him and take him back to Jamaica.
Charles Vane Fact 19:

Charles Vane offered no resistance and was put in irons until he was handed over to the authorities in Jamaica. Charles Vane remained a prisoner for more than a year before being put on trial. Having been found guilty on 22nd March 1721, Charles Vane was hanged on March 29th 1721 at Gallows Point in Port Royal. As with Calico Jack, his body was hung from a gibbet as a warning to other pirates.

Anne Bonny the Pirate
Charles Vane Fact 20:

Along along with Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Benjamin Hornigold, Calico Jack, and Mary Read, Charles Vane has been included in the popular video game Assassins Creed IV, Black Flag. He has also featured as a character in the fictional TV series Black Sails, which was released in the United States in 2014. The series is set around 20 years before Robert Louis Stephenson’s Treasure Island and has been written in the form of a prequel.


Picture of Anne Bonny the Pirate

Charles Vane the Pirate (Unknown - 1721) Fun Facts Info for Kids !

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