Captain Charles Vane

To Heros and Villains

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Early 18th century engraving of Charles Vane Early 18th century engraving of Charles Vane

Vane is among the pirate captains who operate from the notorious base known as the 'Pirates' republic', an English pirate his flagship is a brigantine named the Ranger. He arrived in Port Royal, serving under the infamous pirate Henry Jennings. When a Spanish treasure fleet was hit by a hurricane off the coast of Florida, dumping tons of Spanish gold and silver not far from shore. As the surviving Spanish sailors salvaged what they could, Jennings (with Vane on board) was one of the first pirates to reach the site, raiding the Spanish camp on shore, making off with some thousands of pounds of recovered gold and silver.

Rejection of the King's Pardon

The King of England issued a blanket pardon for all pirates who wished to return to an honest life. Many accepted, including Jennings. Vane, however, scoffed at the notion of retirement from piracy and soon became the leader of those who refused the pardon. He outfitted a small sloop, for service as a pirate vessel. When the a royal Frigate arrived in Nassau. Vane and his men were captured, but were released as a goodwill gesture. Within a couple of weeks, Vane and some of his companions were ready to once again take to piracy. Soon he had forty of Nassau's worst cutthroats, including seasoned buccaneer Edward England and Calico Jack Rackham. A year later Vane had a handful of small ships and was ready for action. In that month, he captured twelve merchant ships. Vane and his men treated the sailors and merchants cruelly in spite of the fact that they had surrendered instead of fought. One sailor was bound hand and foot and tied to the top of the bowsprit and the pirates threatened to shoot him if he did not tell where the treasure on board was located. Fear of Vane drove commerce in the area to a halt.

Vane takes Nassau

When it was announced a new governor, would be arriving soon. Vane decided that his position in Nassau was too weak, so he set out to capture a proper pirate ship. He soon took a 20-gun French ship and made it his flagship. He then seized many more small merchant vessels, more than enough to keep his men happy. Vane triumphantly re-entered Nassau, essentially taking over the town. Vane and his men were preparing to set sail once again, a Royal Navy Frigate sailed into the harbor: the new governor had come at last. Vane controlled the harbor and the small fort, which flew a pirate flag from its flagpole. He made an impression by firing on the Royal Navy immediately, and sent a letter to governor demanding to be allowed to dispose of his plundered goods before accepting the King's pardon. As night fell, Vane knew his situation was impossible, so he set fire to his flagship and sent it towards the Navy ships, hoping to destroy them in a massive explosion. The Navy ships were able to hurriedly cut their anchor lines and get away, but Vane and his men escaped.

Vane and Blackbeard

Vane continued pirating and had some success but still dreamed of the days when Nassau was under pirate control. He headed to North Carolina where Edward "Blackbeard" Teach had gone semi-legitimate. The two pirate crews partied for a week on the shores of Ocracoke Island. Vane hoped to convince his old friend to join in an attack on Nassau, but Blackbeard declined, having too much to lose. Vane ordered an attack on a frigate which turned out to be a French Navy warship. Outgunned, Vane broke off the fight and ran for it. His men, led by the reckless Calico Jack Rackham, had wanted to stay and fight and take the French ship. The next day, the crew deposed Vane as captain, electing Rackham instead. Vane and fifteen others were given a small sloop and the two pirate crews went their separate ways.

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To Heros and Villains

 

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