William Kidd (c. 1654 – 23 May 1701) also known as Captain William Kidd or simply Captain Kidd, was a Scottish privateer. Conflicting accounts exist regarding his early life, but he was likely born in Dundee and later settled in New York City. By 1690, Kidd had become a highly successful privateer, commissioned to protect English interests in North America and the West Indies.
In 1695, Kidd received a royal commission from the Earl of Bellomont, the governor of New York, Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, to hunt down pirates and enemy French ships in the Indian Ocean. He received a letter of marque and set sail on a new ship, Adventure Galley, the following year. On his voyage he failed to find many targets, lost much of his crew and faced threats of mutiny. In 1698, Kidd captured his greatest prize, the 400-ton Quedagh Merchant, a ship hired by Armenian merchants and captained by an Englishman. The political climate in England had turned against him, however, and he was denounced as a pirate. Bellomont engineered Kidd's arrest upon his return to Boston and sent him to stand trial in London. He was found guilty and hanged in 1701.
Kidd was romanticized after his death and his exploits became a popular subject of pirate-themed works of fiction. The belief that he had left buried treasure contributed significantly to his legend, which inspired numerous treasure hunts in the following centuries.

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