Infamous Pirates > Dirk Chivers

Dirk Chivers

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Dirk Chivers was a famous Dutch pirate that was active on the first Pirate Round during the 1690's. He was a pirate rounder who operated in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and was very successful in his exploits. Chivers is first documented in the historical record around June of 1695 as having been part of a privateering crew on the Portsmouth Adventure. The ship was captained by a Joseph Farrell and in June of 1695 they assisted Henry Every with the capture of two ships.

As the privateers were headed back to the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations they were wrecked on a reef near the port of Mayotte in the Comoro Islands. Some of the privateers including Farrell joined Every's crew however, Chivers and others stayed behind. Chivers is next recorded as signing up with a captain Robert Glover aboard his 28-gun ship the Resolution near the end of 1695. After pirating on the Red Sea for several months, Chivers and others led a mutiny against Glover and removed him and twenty-four of his supporters from command and sent them aboard a captured Arab prize ship named the Rajapura. Chivers was elected the new captain of the crew and they renamed the ship the Soldado.

Throughout 1696 Chivers and his crew captured many ships throughout the Indian Ocean and eventually joined up with a privateer named John Hoar. Together the two captains captured two East India trade ships and attempted to ransom them to the governor of Aden. The governor refused to negotiate with the pirates so they burnt the ships. According to pirate legends one of the captains named Sawbridge would not stop complaining about his conditions in captivity so the pirates sewed his lips shut with a sail needle.

By now Chivers and Hoar were in command of a four ship flotilla consisting of their stolen prizes and decided to sail into the port of Calcutta in November of 1696 and attempt to ransom these prizes to the local governor for £10,000. They sent a message to the governor stating;

"We acknowledge no country, having sold our own, and as we are sure to be hanged if taken, we shall have no scruple in murdering and destroying if our demands are not granted in full."

However, this governor did not negotiate with the pirates as well and instead sent out ten ships in response. As soon as Chivers and Hoar spotted the fleet moving against them they retreated with their four prizes to the pirate haven of Ile Saint-Marie. They arrived in the summer of 1697 and the two privateers parted ways as Chivers stayed to repair his ships and Hoar ventured back into the Red Sea. Chivers would stay on the island all throughout the fall and winter to careen his vessel.

Chivers was next reported to have captured an English ship in April of 1698 named the Sedgwick. Instead of seizing the prize he made a deal with the captain to supply them with valuable rum that they could use to trade for slaves or other goods in the Indian Ocean area. By September of 1698 Chivers had joined forces with Robert Culliford and Nathaniel North. Together the trio captured the Great Mohammed treasure ship that was worth about £130,000.

Chivers took command of the new Indian prize and renamed it the New Soldado or the Saldado II and set a course for Ile Saint-Marie. However, the following year in September of 1699 Chivers was forced to sink the New Saldado in order to block the harbor of Saint Mary's when four massive British man-o-wars blockaded the harbor. Eventually Chivers and Culliford took the royal pardon offered to all the pirates of the first pirate round and Chivers returned to the Dutch aboard a merchant ship called the Vine.

Pirate Rounders

First Pirate Round

Second Pirate Round

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources