The real pirate life was exciting and dangerous, but also democratic and egalitarian. These four people-the Dutch-African sailor, the little boy, the ship’s captain, and the Miskito Indian helmsman lived aboard the Whydah, a slave ship overtaken and turned into a pirate ship in the early 18th century. The Whydah Pirate Museum reveals the true story behind this vessel and those who lived aboard-a story more compelling than any dreamt up by Hollywood.
The Whydah left Africa in 1716, bearing the weight of human cargo. Reaching Caribbean waters, the ship was seized by Sam Bellamy, commander of a growing fleet of pirate ships. Shipwrecked in a nor’easter in 1717, the Whydah sank deep into Cape Cod waters, only to be discovered by intrepid diver Barry Clifford and his team, who have dove Cape Cod’s icy waters for years recovering artifacts from the Whydah, including cannon and pistols, navigational equipment, West African jewelry, buttons, buckles-and, of course pirate treasure: gold, silver, and pieces of eight.
The Whydah Pirate Museum combines artifacts from the slave trade and the pirate’s life, early maps of the Atlantic and the Caribbean, and imagery of the 18th-century world. The result is a rich and interesting tapestry that echoes a historically accurate portrait of real pirates in the Caribbean.