Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BEACH WEEK - Captain Kidd

TITLE:  Captain Kidd: Seventeenth-Century Pirate of the Indian Ocean and African Coast

AUTHOR: Aileen Weintraub

WHO WAS AT THE BEACH? Captain Kidd, a privateer turned pirate.

WHAT BEACH AND WHEN? On his way to New York City in 1699 to see his wife and daughters after three years at sea, Captain Kidd purportedly stopped at Gardiners Island on Long Island, New York to bury his treasure.

WHAT HAPPENED? Raised by a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, Kidd was hired in 1689 by the British to plunder enemy ships (especially those belonging to those dang French!) On one voyage his full crew was working under the “No Purchase, No Pay” agreement. This meant that if they didn't capture a ship, the crew wouldn't get paid. Ships to plunder were scarce, Kidd chickened out of capturing a couple they sailed near, the crew was getting restless to say the least, and then, out of desperation, Kidd attacked a (gasp) British ship. His badness pretty much spiraled out of control after that, and he willy nilly attacked ship after ship. He knew he was branded a pirate when he buried that treasure on Long Island, and hoped that he could use it as a bargaining chip in negotiations to avoid punishment. But, alas, he was hung in London in 1701 where his body was on display for years (geez!), and as for his treasure? It remains a mystery.

Ages 9 to 12

You also might like this DVD produced by the History Channel, Investigating History - Captain Kidd.

Activity: Bury a treasure for your kids to find. Purchase a treasure chest from a craft store, shell shop or import store. Fill it with colored stones, costume jewelry, old or foreign coins, marbles, shells, sea glass and skeleton keys. Bury it and then use brown ink to draw a map to it on this old piece of paper you can print out. The paper is made available by Once they have practice finding your buried treasure, then maybe they can tackle finding Captain Kidd's!

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