Wednesday, 05 December 2018 21:50

Thomas White ($16 Million) - 7th Most Successful Pirate of the Golden Age

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Map of Area of Operation for Pirate Thomas White (1705) Map of Area of Operation for Pirate Thomas White (1705) Image from Wikipedia

Golden Age of Piracy: Top 10 Countdown Part IV

This is the fourth installment of a series focusing upon the ten most successful pirates (as determined by the estimated total value of their combined hauls) of the Golden Age of Piracy (generally considered to have ended with the killing of Barthlomew “Black Bart” Roberts in 1722).

7. Thomas White: $16 million 

Thomas White, similar to many of his colleagues in the field of piracy, began his seafaring career as a sailor for the Royal Navy.  And, again in a manner very much like that of others of his ilk, was later a “legitimate” captain of a merchant ship, the “Marigold.”  

White became a pirate through happenstance.  In 1698, the “Marigold” was captured by French pirates who, deeming White’s ship to be superior to their own, commandeered it.  After having killed many of the English crewmen, the French spared White’s life, citing the need for his intimate knowledge of the “Marigold.”  

White continued as a subordinate crew member with the French pirates until they were in turn captured by John Bowen and George Booth.  Enslaved by these notorious outlaws, White was able to escape in 1791 when the ship was run aground near Madagascar. 

Survival was possible when White was befriended by a local chieftain.  Living with the aborigines until joining pirate William Read, White evidently decided that the life of a pirate was his calling.  

Gradually moving towards fully embracing the life of piracy as he advanced through the ranks under various captains, White eventually obtained his own ship after being abandoned by Nathaniel North in 1704. 

White and his accomplices concentrated their efforts near the tip of Africa and in the Indian Ocean, preying on merchant ships carrying cargo such as exotic animals, fruits, spices, tea, and other items in high demand in Europe. 

Thomas White proceeded to prove himself quite capable as a pirate in his own right.  Plundering ships throughout the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, he eventually teamed with John Halsey to form a very effective operation until his death in March of 1708. 

White can be cited as the seventh-most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy.