George Booth the Gunner

George Booth (died 1700) was an English pirate who was one of the earliest active in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea during the late 17th century. Among his fleet included prominent captains such as Nathaniel North, Thomas Howard and Booth's eventual successor, John Bowen.

Although his early life is largely unknown, he is first recorded in his career as a gunner aboard the Pelican around 1696, and later the Dolphin, both of which operated in the Indian Ocean.

While Booth was still a gunner aboard the Dolphin, she was trapped at Sainte-Marie Island by a British fleet in September 1699. The crew of the Dolphin were offered a pardon by the British commodore. Although some of the pirates surrendered, Booth was among those who escaped to nearby Madagascar after burning the Dolphin. Booth would later participate in the capture of a French merchant ship on the pretence of buying supplies carrying liquor and other goods in exchange for slaves and, elected by the crew as captain, they continued onward to Madagascar.

Booth later encountered fellow British pirate John Bowen and, choosing to join forces, they later captured the Speaker, a 450 ton slaver carrying 50 guns, near Majunga in April, 1699. As captain of the newly captured prize, Booth eventually sailed towards Zanzibar and arrived towards the end of 1700. While going ashore for provisions, Booth and Bowen were attacked by Arab troops and Booth was killed in the fighting. After the death of Booth, Bowen was voted by the crew to replace Booth as captain of the small fleet.

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