The sacrifice of Captain Kidd

Angus Konstam argues that the infamous 'pirate' was thrown to the wolves by shadowy aristocrats for crimes he did not commit

Captain Kidd

This article was first published in the June 2011 issue of BBC History Magazine

When the hangman’s rope snapped and a choking William Kidd fell to the ground beneath the gallows, he must have thought for a moment that he would be spared the noose. For the first time since he sailed from London six years earlier, he was literally being given a break. The reprieve was short-lived. The bound man was hauled back to the gallows, and a new rope was found. For Captain Kidd, notorious pirate and murderer, there would be no mercy. The irony of it was, just as he proclaimed from the gallows, he was an innocent man.

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