On May 23, 1701, the notorious Scottish pirate William Kidd, nicknamed Captain Kidd, was executed in London, England. His rotting corpse was hung over a busy port on the Thames River for three years, as a warning to those considering piracy.
 
Captain Kidd may not have even been a pirate at all. He was certainly a privateer. A privateer is a person who has permission from their government to raid foreign ships during a time of conflict. Great Britain and France were continually in conflict during Captain Kidd’s career. Captain Kidd made his living raiding French ships.
 
As a privateer, Captain Kidd worked for the British American government based in New York City, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts. He was hired to attack French ships in the Caribbean Sea, off the East Coast of what is now the United States, and as far away as Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean. In the Indian Ocean, Kidd’s crew raided a French ship . . . with an English captain. Kidd was arrested and served time in prisons in Boston and London before being executed.
 
Many stories have sprung up about Captain Kidd. American authors from Washington Irving to Mark Twain wrote about the fabled pirate. Perhaps most famously, Edgar Allen Poe wrote about the buried treasure of Captain Kidd in his short story “The Gold Bug.” Treasure hunters continue to search for his hidden riches—which most historians say don’t exist—from Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, to Block Island, Rhode Island.
arrest
Verb

to take into legal custody.

conflict
Noun

a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

consider
Verb

to think about.

corpse
Noun

dead body.

execute
Verb

to put to death by order of the law or in a well-planned manner.

fabled
Adjective

legendary, celebrated, and largely fictitious.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

migrant worker
Noun

person who lives away from home part of the time, in order to work.

notorious
Adjective

well-known for negative reasons.

piracy
Noun

illegal use or reproduction of a copyrighted work of art or intellectual property.

Noun

place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.

prison
Noun

buildings that house convicted criminals and people accused of a crime and awaiting trial.

privateer
Noun

private ship or person commissioned by a government during war.

raid
Noun

to stage a sudden, violent attack, usually for robbery.

rot
Verb

to decay or spoil.

treasure
Noun

wealth, riches, and other valuable materials.

William Kidd
Noun

(1645-1701) Scottish navigator and sailor, hanged for piracy.