SIR FRANCIS DRAKE THE ENGLISH PIRATE {commissioned in 1570 by the Queen ELIZABETH 1}

He had little success at first in his concentrated efforts against Spanish colonies and shipping, but persistence paid off in his second attempt to capture the annual mule train carrying Spanish gold and silver across the isthmus of Panama.
Although he brought back the equivalent of millions, the Queen could not openly sanction the work of the one she called, 'my pirate' after a peace treaty was signed with Spain.

                                 REPLICA OF SIR DRAKES PIRATE SHIP GOLDEN HIND
In March 1579, Francis Drake captured with one shot one of the largest hauls of all time; the Cacafuego galleon yielded enough gold, silver, and jewels to put England's economy in the black. It took four days just to transfer it to the Golden Hinde's hold. Drake sailed to the coast of California, did some surfing, and then headed west to arrive in England by September 1580, the first to circumnavigate the globe. The Queen knighted him in 1581
The line between officially sanctioned acts and actual piracy was always a fine one. Were you a legitimate privateer or a pirate when a corrupt government employee on an obscure island in the Caribbean gave you a commission to sail and then claimed a share of the captured goods? Were you legitimate or a pirate when commissioned by local merchants and government officials who invested in your voyage and took their share of the profits from that voyage? Were you legitimate when Queen Elizabeth I of England sanctioned your voyage as she did Francis Drake's and then took a share of the loot brought home? Because the profits to be made were so large, central governments so weak and greed and corruption so rampant during this period, it was very difficult to control the situation. Actions that were condoned by one group were often looked on as illegal by another.


War with France was raging and there was no way the English naval force could come to the rescue of its merchant fleet. It was thus that some influential persons in London including the Chancellor, Lord Somers, Lord Orford and Lord Bellomont (who had been designated the Governor of New York)formed a syndicate and obtained a letter of marque for privateering to tackle the menace of piracy

 It was rumoured that King William himself had a ten per cent share in the syndicate

They obtained a commission for Captain William Kidd to act against the pirates with a reward of 50 pounds for every captured pirate. But soon it was revealed that Kidd had other ideas. From a tormentor of pirates he turned out to be the biggest pirate of them all, attacking English, French, Dutch and native ships 

Captain Kidd had visited Calicut(kozhikodu) in October 1697 ;after looting a lot of ships

Fate caught up with Kidd and he was arrested at the behest of his own mentor, Lord Bellomont who had by then taken over as the Governor of New York. The good Lord who had shared of Kidd's booty tried to distance himself from the pirate, claiming that 'I secured Captain Kidd last Thursday in the Gaol of this Town (Boston) with five or six of his men... It was true the King had allowed me a power to pardon pirates. But that I was so tender of using it (because I would bring no stain on my reputation) that I had set myself a rule never to pardon piracy without the King's express leave and command'.  This pompous statement came after Bellomont snatched from Kidd the only piece of evidence  (the French pass issued to Queddah Merchant) which could have saved Kidd's life!