Edward England is said to have been an educated man, and one of the more humane pirate captains of the Golden Age. Born in Ireland around 1685, Edward England first went to sea as a privateer during the War of Spanish Succession. Sailing to Jamaica, his ship was captured by Captain Christopher Winter who forced England and others to join his crew and turn to piracy.
After landing at the town of Nassau, the base of the Pirate Republic, England quickly caught the attention of notorious pirate captain Charles Vane. Vane invited England to become his quartermaster, and England’s popularity among the crew resulted in him being given command of his own ship.
Governor Woodes Rogers arrived in Nassau soon after, demanding that all pirates turn themselves in. England managed to escape during an anti-pirate raid with his ship and crew in tow. Knowing that the Caribbean was quickly becoming a more dangerous place for pirates to operate, England sailed to the coast of Africa.
During this voyage Edward England encountered and captured numerous vessels. He also met the pirate Howell Davis on this journey. Impressed with Davis’ likeable personality, England saw his potential and gave Davis command of one of his ships.
Once they arrived in Africa, England and his crew settled in a town for a while, until a conflict arose resulting in the swashbucklers burning the town to the ground.
England’s adventures then took him to the Indian Ocean, where he continued capturing bigger and better ships. His infamous flag with skull and crossbones design would strike fear into his enemy’s hearts, and his popular jolly roger is one of the reasons why he is remembered today.
After refusing to kill a captured captain, England was eventually marooned with three other members of the crew on the island of Mauritius. They were left without adequate provisions but managed to survive there for four months, during which they built a small boat from scrap wood that they could find, and successfully sailed it across the Indian Ocean to Madagascar.
He lived in Madagascar for less than a year, surviving on the charity of old friends thought to be the crew of Henry Every, until finally dying in 1721.