Henry Every Biography

Henry Every

Henry Every (unknown date of birth and death, most probably 1653 - 1696) was one of the most notorious pirates during the era that is today known as "Golden Age of Pirates". Even though he operated as a pirate for only one year, he gained his significant reputation for being one of the few pirate captains who retired without being caught by the authorities, shortly after one of the most successful naval raids in the pirate history.

During his lifetime he was known for his several aliases such as John Avery, Benjamin Bridgeman and Long Ben. Very little is known about his early life, but historian's claim that he was born sometimes between 1653 and 1659 in Devon, England, or in its surrounding area. Next thirty years of his life remained In mystery, until he surfaced on a crew of the unregistered slave trader ship that operated on the coast of Western Africa in early 1690s. In 1694 Every reached the position of first mate on a Spanish privateer ship Charles II, which had the mission to hunt the French ships in the waters around Martinique. After the several delayed payments, crew of that ship mutinied and elected Every as a new captain who renamed ship into "Fancy". After sailing to the Madagascar, Every committed his first acts of piracy when he captured three English and two Danish trade vessels.

In the short period of time Every managed to gain reputation as one of the fiercest pirates of the Red Sea. He quickly managed to organize pirate fleet of five ships, with several notable pirate captains under his rule (Thomas Tew, William Want, Thomas Wake and William May). With such amount of firepower and notoriety, Every had the means to attack even the strongest treasure fleets that traveled regularly between India and Middle East.

The key moment of Henry Every's pirate career happened in September of 1695, when he managed to encounter treasure fleet of Indian Grand Moghal on their annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Seeing the strong pirate fleet of Every, Indian ships scattered across the sea, but Every managed to contain two ships - small "Fateh Mohammed" which surrendered quickly and larger "Gang-i-Sawai" which managed to resist for several hours. The key moment in that battle happened after one of the Gang-i-Sawai's cannon exploded on its deck, which prompted defenders to surrender.

Treasure that Henry Every found on that ship was truly incredible. With over 600,000 pounds of gold, silver and jewels, every members of Every pirate fleet became extremely rich. As a payment for good work, each pirate received prize of 1000 pounds, which was equal to the 80 years of honest sea pays. After receiving such money, it's not strange that majority of those pirates decided to retire. Henry fist tried to retire on the Caribbean where he bribed the governor of New Providence, but shortly after he became unwanted in the Caribbean and other English colonies.

After changing his name into Benjamin Bridgeman, Every and some of his crew sailed to Ireland where majority of his crew was caught and hanged. Every however, managed to avoid capture and continued to live remained his life in total obscurity. Nothing is known about his life in Ireland, and that mystery gave birth to the many unfounded speculation of his latter life.

Even if the historians cannot come to credible information about the majority of his life, one thing is certain - Henry Every was one of the most famous and capable pirate of his age.