It was June 21, 1720 when The King of Pirates, Bartholomew Roberts, (pictured right) entered the harbour of Trepassey with black flags flying. He was the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy, capturing far more ships than some of the best-known pirates of this era such as Blackbeard or Captain Kidd. He is estimated to have captured over 470 vessels in his career as a pirate.. He is also known as Black Bart (Welsh: Barti Ddu). He was not the first Welshmen to visit us as the colony of Trepassey was started by Sir William Vaughn, another Welsh descendant. Find his story here. .
Picture the Trepassey harbour filled with 22 ships, as Black Bart sailed in with black flags a blaze. All 22 ships were quickly left abandoned by the Captains who fled in sheer terror. Out of disgust at their cowardice, it was believed that Black Bart made all the Captains attend his ship every morning at the sound of a cannon blast. After leaving the harbour in late June, Black Bart burned every ship there. Those ships now lie peacefully at the bottom of Trepassey Harbour.
The children of Trepassey grew up with the hope of one day stumbling on some pirate booty left behind by Black Bart. Who knows. Maybe there just might be something to find here on our shores …
Today there are no black flags flying into the harbour, but there are plenty of fishing vessels and pleasure craft who come to the harbour to refuel, get supplies, or just to explore the beauty of Trepassey. We are home to one of the most protected harbours in Newfoundland so if you are a sailor, or a pirate, feel free to stop in for a time.
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