Pirates: Behind the Legends: William Kidd (Nat Geo, Saturday, June 22, 2024)

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National Geographic’s documentary series Pirates: Behind the Legends sets sail with a new episode, “William Kidd,” airing Saturday, June 22, 2024, at 9:00 p.m. The episode explores the life and legend of Captain William Kidd, a privateer-turned-pirate whose story has fascinated imaginations for centuries.

Born in mid-17th century Scotland, William Kidd’s early life is shrouded in mystery, with conflicting accounts of his upbringing. It is believed he was born in Dundee, Scotland, and embarked on a life at sea from a young age. By the 1680s, he had established himself as a respected privateer. During the war between England and France in the 1690s, Kidd was tasked with hunting pirates and protecting English ships. However, his voyage aboard the Adventure Galley was marked by challenges and a lack of targets.

A turning point came in January 1698 when Kidd captured the Quedagh Merchant, an Armenian ship loaded with treasures. This capture led to Kidd being denounced as a pirate due to a shift in the political climate, and he soon found himself facing mutiny. Kidd abandoned the Adventure Galley and sailed to the West Indies, where he discovered he was now an outlaw. Negotiating a pardon, he sailed to Boston, only to be arrested by an investor in his voyage, Lord Richard Bellomont, and sent to England for trial.

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Found guilty of piracy and the murder of his gunner, William Moore, Kidd was hanged in London on May 23, 1701. His body was left to rot in public view as a warning to other pirates. However, this was not the end of his story, as the legend of Captain Kidd and his buried treasure grew, fueled by authors like Robert Louis Stevenson and treasure hunters’ endless searches. While some treasure has been recovered, the myth of a larger cache persists, ensuring Kidd’s place in pirate folklore.

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“William Kidd” explores the fascinating life and enduring legacy of Captain Kidd, from his early years as a privateer to his execution and the enduring fascination with his supposed hidden loot.

Pirates: Behind the Legends: William Kidd airs Saturday, June 22, 2024, at 9:00 p.m. on National Geographic.

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