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WHYDAH GALLY (Slave Ship to Pirate Ship)

This model is hand-crafted from hard wood with planks on frame construction method and lacquered with natural wood finished. Our model is full assembled and ready for display.

Item Code

Specifications

Packing Volume

TS0101W

70L x 17W x 76H (cm)

27.55L x 6.69W x 29.92H (inch)

0.264 m³ = 9.32307 ft³

Whydah Gally Model Ship ready for display

Ship Model Whydah Gally

Whydah Gally Ship

Whydah Gally Stern Deck

Whydah Gally Fore Deck

Whydah Gally Salve Ship to Pirate Ship

Whydah Gally Pirate Ship Model

Whydah Gally Stern

 

HISTORY

The Whydah Gally (variously written as Whidah, Whidaw, or Whido) was a fully rigged galley ship that was originally built as a slave ship for the Atlantic slave trade. On the return leg of its second voyage of the triangle trade, it began a new role in the Golden Age of Piracy, when it was captured by the pirate Captain "Black Sam" Bellamy, and was refitted as his flagship. Two months later, on April 26, 1717, the ship ran aground and capsized during a strong gale force storm off of Cape Cod, taking Bellamy, 143 of his crew, and over 4.5 short tons (4.1 tonnes) of gold and silver with it, leaving two survivors behind to tell its tale.

Slave ship

The Whydah was commissioned in 1715 in London, England by independent merchants. A square-rigged three-masted galley ship, it measured 31 metres (102 ft) in length, with a tonnage rating at 300 tuns burthen, and could travel at speeds up to 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph).

Christened Whydah after the West African slave trading kingdom of Ouidah (pronounced WIH-dah), the vessel was configured as a heavily armed trading and transport ship for use in the Atlantic slave trade. It set out for its maiden voyage in early 1716, carrying goods from England to exchange for slaves in West Africa. After traveling down West Africa through modern-day Gambia and Senegal to Nigeria and Benin, where its namesake port was located.

It left Africa with 367 captives, gold, including Akan jewellry and elephant tusks aboard, and traveled to the Caribbean, where it traded the 312 survivors for precious metals, sugar, indigo, rum, and medicinal ingredients, which were to then be transported back to England. Fitted with a standard complement of eighteen six-pound cannon, which could be increased to a total of twenty-eight in time of war, the Whydah represented one of the most advanced weapons systems of the time.

Pirate ship

In late February 1717, the Whydah, under the command of Captain Lawrence Prince, was navigating the Windward Passage between Cuba and Hispaniola when it was attacked by pirates led by "Black Sam" Bellamy. At the time of the Whydah's capture, Bellamy was in possession of two vessels, the 26-gun galley Sultana and the converted 10-gun sloop Marianne. After a three-day chase, Prince surrendered his ship near the Bahamas with only a desultory exchange of cannon fire. Bellamy decided to take the Whydah as his new flagship; several of its crew remained with their ship and joined the pirate gang. In a gesture of goodwill toward Captain Prince who had surrendered without a struggle—and who in any case may have been favorably known by reputation to the pirate crew—Bellamy gave the Sultana to Prince, along with £20 in silver and gold.

The Whydah was then fitted with 10 additional cannons by its new captain, and 150 members of Bellamy's crew were detailed to man the vessel. Bellamy and his crew then sailed on to the Carolinas and headed north along the eastern coastline of the American colonies, aiming for the central coast of Maine, looting or capturing additional vessels on the way. At some point during his possession of the Whydah, Bellamy loaded an additional 30+ cannons below decks, possibly as ballast. Two cannons recovered by underwater explorer Barry Clifford in August 2009, weighed 800 pounds and 1,500 pounds respectively.

Accounts differ as to the destination of the Whydah during its few days. Some evidence exists to support local Cape Cod legend: the Whydah was headed for what is now Provincetown Harbor at the tip of Cape Cod, so that Bellamy could visit his love, Maria Hallett – the "Witch of Wellfleet". Others blame the Whydah's route on navigator error. In any case, on April 26, 1717, near Chatham, Massachusetts, the Whydah approached a thick, gray fog bank rolling across the water – signaling inclement weather ahead.

Sinking

That weather turned into a violent nor'easter, a storm with gale force winds out of the east and northeast, which forced the vessel dangerously close to the breaking waves along the shoals of Cape Cod. The ship was eventually driven aground at Wellfleet, Massachusetts. At midnight she hit a sandbar in 16 feet (5 m) of water about 500 feet (152 m) from the coast of what is now Marconi Beach. Pummeled by 70 mph (110 km/h) winds and 30-to-40 ft (9-to-12 m) waves, the main mast snapped, pulling the ship into about 30 ft (9 m) of water, where she violently capsized. The 60+ cannon on board ripped through the overturned decks of the ship and quickly broke it apart, scattering its contents over a 4-mile (6.4 km) length of coast. One of the two surviving members of Bellamy's crew, Thomas Davis, testified in his subsequent trial that "In a quarter of an hour after the ship struck, the Mainmast was carried by the board, and in the Morning she was beat to pieces."

By morning, hundreds of Cape Cod's notorious wreckers (locally known as "moon-cussers") were already plundering the remains. Hearing of the shipwreck, then-governor Samuel Shute dispatched Captain Cyprian Southack, a local salvager and cartographer, to recover "Money, Bullion, Treasure, Goods and Merchandizes taken out of the said Ship." By May 3, when Southack reached the location of the wreck, he found that a part of the ship was still visible breaching the water's surface, but that much of the ship's wreckage was scattered along more than 4 miles (6.4 km) of shoreline. On a map which he made of the wreck site, Southack reported that he had buried 102 of the 144 Whydah crew and captives lost in the sinking (though technically they were buried by the town coroner, who surprised Southack by handing him the bill and demanding payment).

According to surviving members of the crew – two from the Whydah and seven from the Mary Anne, another of Bellamy's fleet which ran aground in the storm – at the time of its sinking, the ship carried from four and a half to five tons of silver, gold, gold dust, and jewelry, which had been divided equally into 180 50-pound (23 kg) sacks and stored in-between the ship's decks. Though Southack did recover some of the all but worthless items salvaged from the ship, little of this massive treasure hoard was recovered. Southack would write in his account of his findings, that "The riches, with the guns, would be buried in the sand." With that, the exact location of the ship, its riches and its guns were lost, and came to be thought of as nothing more than legend.

Survivors

Including the seven men aboard the Mary Anne, nine of Bellamy's crew survived the wrecking of the two ships. They were all captured quickly, however, and in October 1717, six were tried as pirates in Boston. They were found guilty and hanged, barely three weeks before Boston received news announcing King George's official pardon of all pirates – which had been issued the month before their trial.

Another two of the survivors from the Whydah – a carpenter named Thomas Davis, and another man also named Thomas, who had been conscripted by Bellamy, were brought to trial. However, possibly in part due to the intervention of the famous Puritan minister Cotton Mather, they were acquitted of all charges and spared the gallows. The other survivor of the Whydah, a Miskito Indian named John Julian, was not tried but rather is believed to have been sold into slavery after his capture.

Recovery

The wreck of the Whydah was discovered in 1984 by underwater explorer Barry Clifford, who relied heavily on Southack's 1717 map of the wreck site – a modern-day, true-to-life "pirate treasure map" leading to what was at that time a discovery of unprecedented proportions. That the Whydah had eluded discovery for over 260 years became even more surprising when the wreck was found under just 14 feet (4.3 m) of water and 5 feet (1.5 m) of sand.

The ship's location has been the site of extensive underwater archaeology, and more than 200,000 individual pieces have since been retrieved. One major find in the fall of 1985 was the ship's bell, inscribed with the words "THE WHYDAH GALLY 1716". With that, the Whydah became the first ever pirate shipwreck with it's identity having been established and authenticated beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Work on the site by Clifford's dive team continues on an annual basis. Selected artifacts from the wreck are displayed at Expedition Whydah Sea-Lab & Learning Center (The Whydah Pirate Museum) in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A selection of the artifacts are also on a tour across the United States under the sponsorship of the National Geographic Society.

Archaeological evidence

As bits and pieces of the pirates' weapons, clothing, gear, and other possessions have been plucked from the wreck, researchers have logged the locations where they were found, then gently stowed them in water-filled vats to prevent drying. The artifacts have revealed a picture of the pirates quite unlike their popular image as thuggish white men with sabers. The abundance of metal buttons, cuff links, collar stays, rings, neck chains, and square belt buckles scattered on the sea floor shows that the pirates were far more sophisticated—even dandyish—in their dress than was previously thought. In an age of austere Puritanism and rigid class hierarchy, this too was an act of defiance—similar in spirit, perhaps, to today's rock stars.

The most common items found in the wreck haven't been eye patches and rum bottles but bits of bird shot and musket balls, designed to clear decks of defenders but not to damage ships. The pirates, it seems, preferred close-quarters fighting with antipersonnel weapons over destructive cannon battles. Among the custom-made weapons that have been recovered are dozens of homemade hand grenades: hollow, baseball-size iron spheres, which were filled with gunpowder and plugged shut. A gunpowder fuse was run through the plug's center, to be lit moments before the grenade was tossed onto the deck of a victim ship. Pirates didn't want to sink a ship; they wanted to capture and rob it.

Famously, the youngest known member of the Whydah's crew was a boy aged approximately 11 years of age, named John King. Young John actually chose to join the crew on his own initiative the previous November, when Bellamy captured the ship on which he and his mother were passengers. He was reported to have been so insistent that he threatened to hurt his mother if he wasn't allowed to join Bellamy. Among the Whydah artifacts recovered by Barry Clifford were a small, black, leather shoe, together with a silk stocking and fibula bone, later determined to be that of a child between 8 and 11 years old – confirming yet another "pirate tale" as fact.

Reaction

A museum exhibition entitled "Real Pirates: The Untold Story of The Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship" toured the United States from 2007 to 2012. Venues included: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH; The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA; The Field Museum, Chicago, IL; Nauticus, Norfolk, VA; St. Louis, MO; Houston, TX; and the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. In one instance, the Whydah's brief participation in the Atlantic slave trade was a source of controversy. The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida announced the exhibit and linked it to the 2007 release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. After being criticized for trivializing the ship's role in slavery while glorifying its role in piracy, the museum canceled the exhibit.

On 27 May 2007 a UK documentary/reality show titled Pirate Ship ... Live! followed a team of divers, including comedian Vic Reeves, in live coverage of a dive at the Whydah site.

On January 7, 2008 the National Geographic Channel aired a 2-hour documentary, Pirate Treasure Hunters, about the ongoing excavation of the wreck of the Whydah Gally, which includes detailed interviews with Barry Clifford. It is currently available on DVD.
 

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Packing:

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Model is packed fully assembled in wooden crate and put in the carton.

Model is ready for display.

 

CONSTRUCTION

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