Infamous Pirates > Christopher Condent

Christopher Condent

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Christopher Condent (1690's - 1770) also known as Condent, Congdon, Connor or Condell and also went by the first name William, Edmond or John as well. He could also be known by his nickname 'Billy One-Hand' and was a pirate that initiated the second Pirate Round which saw a resurgence of pirates return to the Indian Ocean during the Post Spanish Succession Period.

Early Years

Condent was born in Plymouth in Devon and began his pirating career aboard a 12-gun sloop As the ship voyaged across the Atlantic an Indian member of the crew threatened to blow up the powder magazine and was killed by Condent. The crew then captured a merchant ship called the Duke of York and Condent was given captaincy of the new prize. It is known that Condent was on the island of New Providence at the pirate haven of Nassau when governor Woodes Rogers came to the island to deliver the 1718 Kings Pardon and eradicate the piracy that plagued the region.

Christoper Condent - Captain Condent (Pirates of the Spanish Main Trading Cards - 1888)

Captain Condent - Pirates of the Spanish Main (1888)

Condent was part of the defiant pirates who refused the pardon and chose to flee the island led by Charles Vane. Condent found himself at the Cape Verde Islands and captured a ship carrying valuable Portuguese wine. Next the crew sailed to Portuguese Brazil where they captured a few Portuguese ships. During this time Condent gained a reputation for cutting the ears and noses off of his prisoners.

Fleet Captain

Next Condent returned to the Cape Verde Islands where he captured a Dutch sloop-of-war that was leading a flotilla of twenty smaller ships off the coast of Santiago. Condent kept the sloop-of-war and renamed it the Fiery Dragon, becoming a fleet commander in his own respect. He next seized an English galley ship called the Wright, a Portuguese ship and finally a 26-gun Dutch ship. He abandoned the galley ship and led his fleet of three pirate ships to the Gold Coast where they captured three more ships named the Indian Queen, the Fame and another unnamed Dutch ship.

Initiating a second Pirate Round, Condent and the pirates sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and established a new pirate base on the island of Madagascar in April of 1719. On Madagascar Condent's crew got bolstered by the previous crew of John Halsey. Their experience allowed him to quickly learn how to pirate in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Condent starting a second pirate round would soon be followed later by Edward England and John Taylor aboard their ship the Pearl.

By October of 1720 Condent and his crew was off the coast of Bombay where he captured a huge treasure laden Arab ship worth about £150,000. Due to the huge value of the ship Condent ordered his crew not to abuse any of the captives in order not to infuriate the British East India Company any further. One big difference between the first and second pirate rounds was the increased level of Royal Navy presence in the region due to the first pirate round and therefore piracy did not last as long there the second time around.

Later Life

Following the capture the crew returned Ile Saint-Marie and divided the loot of the ship to the tune of £3,000 each. Condent along with forty of his crew would travel to Ile Bourbon where they bargained with the local French governor for a pardon. His request was granted and him and twenty of his pirates settled on the island to permanently retire from their trade.

Condent married the governors sister-in-law and eventually relocated to France in 1723 with his wife to the area of Brittany. He went on to become a wealthy merchant in the ancient pirate haven of Saint-Malo. Condent is unique in that he is one of the rare pirates to survive the Pirate Round, a feat that hardly any of them can claim. During the colonial era many pirates died due to tropical diseases, interactions with hostile natives or in battle with the heavily armed warships of the East Indies.

Pirate Rounders

First Pirate Round

Second Pirate Round

Sources

Primary Sources

Johnson, C. (1728). A General History of the Pyrates (2nd Ed., Volume II). London, Great Britain: T. Warner.

Johnson, C. (1728). A General History of the Pyrates (2nd Ed., Volume II) - Of Captain Condent. London, Great Britain: T. Warner.

Secondary Sources