‘The Prince of Pirates’ and ‘Robin Hood of the Sea’- just a few of the nicknames given to Samuel Bellamy, more famously known as ‘Black Sam’ or ‘Black Bellamy’; one of the most merciful and generous pirates who sailed during the Golden Age. Black Sam was born around February 23rd 1689 in Devon.
He joined the Navy in his late teens, and then sailed to Florida in 1716 to hunt for treasure. This expedition was unsuccessful, so Sam turned to piracy and joined to crew of Benjamin Hornigold, one of the founding members of the Republic of Pirates.
Being English himself, Captain Hornigold was reluctant to attack other English ships, making him increasingly unpopular with the rest of the crew.
Eventually a mutiny was led against Hornigold and Black Sam was elected as the new leader of the ship and its 90 crew members. Black Sam proved to be a fair and democratic Captain, earning him the respect of his crew and the nickname ‘Robin Hood of the Sea’ – even the crew often referred to themselves as ‘Robin Hood’s Men’.
Black Sam is said to have been a tall, tidy, polite gentleman. He took great pride in his appearance, wearing expensive clothing and being famed for tying his long black hair back with a bow rather than wearing the more popular powdered wigs of the time.
At the time of his death Black Sam was in command of several vessels with over 5 tons of cargo estimated at over $3 million.
On April 26th 1717, Black Sam’s ship got caught in a storm, became severely damaged, and eventually sank. Captain Samuel Bellamy was among those crewmates who lost their lives.