For Bartholomew Roberts can be said that he was not the most famous and notorious pirate captain of all- time, but he was defiantly most successful and wealthiest one. During his active years as a commander of several pirate vessels he managed to capture over 470 vessels, gaining incredible wealth in that process. He operated in the waters of Americas and West Africa, until his death in against the British naval commander Chaloner Ogle which is today regarded as an endpoint of the fabled "Golden Age of Piracy" in the Atlantic Ocean.
Bartholomew Roberts was born under a name John in in 1682 in Little Newcastle, Wales, as a son of George Roberts (his pirate name Bartholomew was an alias, most like chosen after the life of a well-known buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp). The first official historical mentioning of his life comes from the year 1718 when he joined the crew of the ship from Barbados. During next year he worked as a third mate on ship "Princess" which operated on the western coast of Africa. There his ship became captured by the pirates, and several members of Roberts crew were forced join them by the order of Captain Howell Davis. After seeing Roberts's impressive navigational skills, Captain Davis started preparing Roberts for the eventual role as a pirate Captain. After some time, Roberts accepted the pirate life and became friend of the Captain Davis.
His role as a captain came soon after the death of Captain Davis, which perished during a daring plan to kidnap the governor of Isle of Princes (they docked into their harbor under the military flag, but hey were recognized as a pirates few days later when Davies and his close party was on shore). Entire crew of the Davies' ship gathered to elect new captain, and six weeks later they chosen Bartholomew Roberts. His navigational skills and outspoken mind brought stability and confidence among entire crew, especially after Roberts himself fully accepted his role as a Pirate (he opposed joining them for a long time after his capture). As a first act as a Captain, he formed a plan to revenge Captain Davies' death. Under the guise of night he stormed the Isle of Princes and killed most of its male population.
After proving that he could be successful pirate, he convinced his crew to visit waters of Brazil. There he managed to capture several ships of the large Portugal trade armada, especially one carrying over 40.000 gold coins to the King of Portugal. During the next two years, Roberts and his fleet of ships plundered the ships and harbors of the Newfoundland, Caribbean and West Africa. Some of his most notable achievements during that time were the siege of Trepassey (where he sailed in openly with black flags) and capture and execution of Governor of Martinique. His exploits were so successful that he almost completely stopped the trade in the West Indies during spring of 1721.
Before his death he and his armada went to West Africa where he captured a lot of ships and laid siege to several harbors (most notably in Ouidah, where he used 11 pirate ships). In the aftermath of his death by the hand of commander Chaloner Ogle (who later on became the only British men that was knighted for his action against pirates), his entire crew of over 270 men was captured. Black crewmembers were sold to slavery, others either died during their transport to Cape Coast Castle or by execution, and very small amount managed to get released.
News of Bartholomew Roberts's death (often celebrated as "The Blackest Day") became one of the pivotal moments in the naval history of history of Caribbean and West Africa, which marked the end of the Golden Age of Piracy.