Anne Bonny, born Anna Cormac, was a female pirate who operated in the Caribbean during the mid-1700s. Born in County Cork, Ireland in the early 1700s, she was the illegitimate child of William Cormac and his servant woman, Mary Brennan. The family traveled to North America when Anne was very young, where they were met with considerable hardships. Her mother died soon after they’d settled into their new home. Anne had a difficult time adjusting, and she is reported to have stabbed a servant girl when she was thirteen. She eventually took over her father’s household, and married sailor, James Bonny.
The couple made their way to New Providence, Bahamas, where they became friends with many of the local pirates. Anne was enthralled with the lifestyle, while James began working as a Privateer. The pair parted ways when Anne fell in love with Captain John “Calico Jack” Rackham, a renowned pirate. Jack and Anne stole a sloop, assembled a crew, and began their life of crime on the high seas.
In the following months Anne and Jack patrolled the Caribbean, looting ships and fostering their reputations as ruthless buccaneers. The crew included Mary Read, a female pirate who infiltrated their ranks by dressing as a man. Anne and Mary became steadfast friends, and were active participants in the commandeering of several English vessels.
Anne was captured in the fall of 1720 when her ship was attacked by pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet. The majority of the crew hid below deck while Anne and Mary struggled to defend their vessel. The women were quickly overthrown. Captain Jack Rackham was hanged after being found guilty of piracy, while Anne and Mary received a temporary stay of execution by claiming to be pregnant.
There is no official record of Anne Bonny’s death. Some believe that she died in prison, or was ransomed by her father. Other accounts claim that she escaped prison and returned to a life of piracy.