John King is well known as the youngest 18th century pirate. He got started as a pirate working as a crew member with the infamous Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy. King is in fact the youngest pirate known in history. One of the more infamous attacks pulled of by Bellamy was the same one that got King his beginnings as a pirate. Bellamy attacked and took over an Antiguan ship by the name of Bonetta. The Bonetta was on route to Jamaica and King was a passenger and was between the ages of eight and eleven. When Bellamy’s crew took over the Bonetta, King demanded that he become a part of Bellamy’s crew. According to the story Bellamy and his crew raided the Bonetta for over two weeks during which King constantly requested to join them. When Bellamy refused King threatened to kill himself or worse, threatened his mother unless he was granted permission to become a pirate.

While it was common for teenagers to become pirates in the 18th century it was very rare, and even unknown, for a boy of King’s age to become a pirate. The Royal Navy enlisted boys of his age but there is no proof that anyone else in those early years has ever been a pirate. After many threats and demands Bellamy allowed King to join his crew. After this happened Bellamy’s crew was able to capture and raid a vast array of ships and gather an incredible amount of fortune. One of the main captures that Bellamy is known for was his takeover of the powerful ship by the name of Whydah. With the capture of the Whydah the crew was covered in treasure and fortune but it ultimately lead to their demise. On April 26, 1717 a storm subdued the Whydah and Bellamy, King and most of the crew was killed.

In 2006 many people thought that scientists had discovered the remains of John King. A team consisting of Barry Clifford, the principal of Expedition Whydah Sea Lab and historian Ken Kinkor found the partial remains of a human body. The remains were determined to belong to a young boy about the same age that King would have been at the time. This was different from most other remains found that clearly belonged to older and full grown men. There is no definitive proof however and any ideas remain as simple speculation.

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