Piracy, patronage and political economy: Captain Kidd and the East India trade

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At the end of the seventeenth century, Whig and Tory debate over the organization and future of the East India trade recognized the need for a closer relationship between merchant and state. However, the existence of an illicit pirate enterprise between New York, Madagascar and the Red Sea proved an obstruction to the future of this trade. This article seeks to explore the ill-fated voyage of Captain William Kidd of 1696–1699 during which Kidd was commissioned to confront the Red Sea marauders as part of the state’s war on piracy. It will be argued that in the process, he became intertwined with the development of political economy in post-revolution England and, ultimately, became the necessary catalyst and martyr for political and economic change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Maritime History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2015


  • Captain Kidd
  • East India trade
  • piracy
  • pirates
  • patronage
  • political economy

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