Captain “Black Sam” Bellamy was one of the most notorious pirates of "the seven seas." During the 18th century, the "Golden Age" of piracy, his seafaring robberies led him to become the richest pirate ever known, accumulating a wealth equivalent of $120 million in today's money.
Despite the riches of this revolutionary rogue, archaeologists and forensic scientists have discovered what they believe are his bones unceremoniously washed up along with 100 other pirates in a mass burial.
On the shores of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, archaeologists recently came across America’s largest mass pirate burial ground, hosting over 102 lost souls who washed up after their ship, the Whydah, sank in April of 1717.
“We believe that we have found the largest mass burial ground in the US,” expedition leader Casey Sherman told The Telegraph. “Over 100 pirates washed ashore on Cape Cod, and our team believe we have located it.”
"It's very hallowed ground... Almost every day we're learning more about what happened 300 years ago."
Researchers are fairly confident that they have found the remains of Bellamy's body at the site, namely because some of the skeletal remains were found immediately next to a unique decorated pistol that matches historical records of Bellamy's gun. To confirm it truly is the infamous pirate, scientists are now carrying out DNA tests on the femur bone which they will compare with the DNA of a male descendant of Bellamy living in the UK.
“Black Sam” Bellamy was a particularly notorious pirate of the 1700s, not because of his brutality, but rather his benevolence and charisma. The wreckage of his flagship – the Whydah – was first discovered by archaeologists in 1984. It was commissioned in 1715 to carry slaves from Africa to the New World. On the way back from its maiden voyage to Jamaica, it ran across the path of Black Sam and his merry men. They eventually managed to take the ship, along with hundreds of bags of gold and obscene amounts of booty, after a three-day chase around the western Atlantic Ocean.
The crew of 146 sailors was made up of sailors of European, African, and Native American descent – there was no place for prejudice on the high seas. Black Sam was an especially fair and democratic captain, distributing much of the ship’s wealth and allowing the crew to voice their opinions on the voyage’s next turn.
The ship met its fate on April 26, 1717, after encountering a vicious storm off the coast of Massachusetts. Bellamy died aged 28, along with over 140 crew members and his ship. However, two men survived: one John Julian, a half-Native American who disappeared into obscurity, and Thomas Davis, a Welshman who was captured and put on trial in Boston.
Much of what we know about the Whydah’s exploits is known by the evidence Davis gave at his trial. Now, with some hard physical evidence on the table, researchers are hoping to uncover even more of its adventures on the high seas.