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John Quelch

01/07/170330/06/1704View on timeline

Captain John Quelch, 1703 – 1704
Captain John Quelch, 1703 – 1704

When it comes to the pirate flags on the list, John Quelch’s flag stands alone. That’s because it isn’t really a pirate flag at all: it’s the national flag of England. Before beginning his career of piracy, Quelch sailed on the English privateer ship Charles as its lieutenant. In July of 1703, the crew mutinied and elected Quelch as the new captain.

Quelch immediately sailed south for the Portuguese colony of Brazil. By the time the crew returned to their original port of call, they had over £10,000 in goods in the hold. Quelch’s prize is equivalent to about $2,416,024 today.

However, the Portuguese were not valid targets for Quelch to privateer. He was arrested and sentenced to death through an Admiralty trial — the first of its kind in America. Quelch was hanged on June 30, 1704 in Boston.

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Published in 29/05/2020

Updated in 19/02/2021

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