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Captain Edward Davis. Buccaneer and pirate.

Flourished from 1683-1702. According to Esquemiling, who knew Davis personally, his name was John, but some authorities call him Edward, the name he is given in the "Dictionary of National Biography."

In 1683 Davis was quartermaster to Captain Cook when he took the ship of Captain Tristian, a French buccaneer, of Petit Guave in the West Indies. Sailed north to cruise off the coast of Virginia. From there he sailed across the Atlantic to West Africa, and at Sierra Leone came upon a Danish ship of thirty-six guns, which he attacked and took. The pirates shifted their crew into this ship, christening her the Bachelor's Delight, and sailed for Juan Fernandez in the South Pacific, arriving there in March, 1684. Here they met with Captain Brown, in the Nicholas, and together sailed to the Galapagos Islands. About this time Captain Cook died, and Davis was elected captain in his place. Cruising along the coasts of Chile and Peru, they sacked towns and captured Spanish ships. On November 3rd Davis landed, and burnt the town of Paita. Their principal plan was to waylay the Spanish Fleet on its voyage to Panama. This fleet arrived off the Bay of Panama on May 28th, 1685, but the buccaneers were beaten and were lucky to escape with their lives. At the Gulf of Ampalla, Davis had to put his sick on shore, as spotted fever raged amongst the crew. Davis then cruised for a while with the buccaneer Knight, sacking several towns.

Deciding to return to the West Indies with their plunder, several of the crew, who had lost all their share by gambling, were left, at their own request, on the Island of Juan Fernandez. Davis then sailed round the Horn, arriving safely at Jamaica with a booty of more than 50,000 pieces of eight, besides quantities of plate and jewels.

At Port Royal, after he had accepted the offer of pardon of King James II., Davis sailed to Virginia and settled down at Point Comfort. We hear no more of him for the next fourteen years, until July 24th, 1702, when he sailed from Jamaica in the Blessing (Captain Brown; twenty guns, seventy-nine men), to attack the town of Tolu on the Spanish Main, which was plundered and burnt. Davis next sailed to the Samballoes, and, guided by the Indians, who were friendly to the buccaneers, but hated the Spaniards, they attacked the gold-mines, where, in spite of most cruel tortures, they got but little gold. The crew next attacked Porto Bello, but found little worth stealing in that much harassed town.

Davis is chiefly remarkable for having commanded his gang of ruffians in the Pacific for nearly four years. To do this he must have been a man of extraordinary personality and bravery, for no other buccaneer or pirate captain ever remained in uninterrupted power for so long a while, with the exception of Captain Bartholomew Roberts.

Taken from The Pirates' Who's Who:Giving Particulars Of The Lives and Deaths Of The Pirates And Buccaneers by Philip Gosse. Originally published by Burt Franklin of 235 East 44th St., New York 10017 in 1924 and in the public domain.