The famous pirate of John Ward.


Who was John Ward?

John Ward or Warde was born in Faversham, Kent in 1553 that become a famous Elizabethan Pirate also known as Jack Ward. Ward joined the navy sometime during his teen years and eventually began to trade slaves brought from Africa with the aid of his cousin.

John Ward was jailed in 1602 after illegally taking a Danish ship during a visit to the Caribbean. After this incident, he was forced to enroll into the Royal Navy one year later, however, John deserted a few month later while in Plymouth taking along with him 30 other individuals.

Ward stole a small vessel, along with his new crew captured two large ships, and then sailed off for the Mediterranean. John Ward was able to steal a 32-gun warship in 1605, used to plunder vessels loaded with silks and spices.

At this time, he turned into a Barbary corsair sailing to Morocco, the place in which he dealt with the ruler of Tunis, Uthman Dey, who granted Ward with a safe haven in return to buy his booty for a fifth of its true value.

Ward plundered a 60-ton ship loaded with 100,000 worth of cargo and continued with piracies mainly attacking Venetian vessels. In 1609, he converted to Islam and adopted the Muslim name of Yusuf Reis.

The wealthy Uthman Dey kept his word and protected John Ward after his travels back to England trying to bribe King James I in exchange for a pardon. Back to Tunis, Yusuf Reis married an Italian woman, but he continued sending money for the rest of his life to a wife left in England.

Yusuf Reis remained active in piracy until the age 70, living in luxury and wealth under the protection of Uthman Dey, until the day of his death in 1622, probably as a result of the plague.

John Ward.

 The famous pirate of John Ward.

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