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Benjamin Hornigold
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Vital statistics
Title Captain
Steward of the Fort (formerly)
Gender Male
Status Deceased (Killed by Flint)
Ships Royal Lion
Orion
Relationships Dufresne (Partner-in-crime/Quartermaster; deceased)
Appearances First: III.
Last: XXVIII.
Portrayed by Patrick Lyster
Gallery Benjamin Hornigold Gallery
"No matter how many lies we tell ourselves or how many stories we convince ourselves we're a part of...we're all just thieves awaiting a noose."
―Benjamin Hornigold[src]

Captain Benjamin Hornigold was one of the pirate captains who operated in the Bahamas during the early eighteenth century. As one of the most influential pirates on New Providence Island, he had control over Fort Nassau, protecting the bay and the entrance to the harbour. He was one of the founding members of the Consortium, the loose coalition of pirates and merchants that hoped to preserve the semi-independent Pirates' Republic in the Bahamas. However, the situation changed when Captain Charles Vane took control of Hornigold's fort. After betraying the pirates with Dufresne and receiving pardons, the became privateers in the service of the English. They worked closely with the newly appointed Governor of New Providence, Woodes Rogers. He was finally killed by Flint in the battle on the Maroon Island.

Biography[]

Background[]

Not much is known about Hornigold's past, except that he was a former privateer for the English, having spent nearly thirty years at sea[1]. At some point he served at sea with Hal Gates.

He captained the Royal Lion. Most of his men were supporters of James Stuart, the Jacobite pretender to the throne of England. Unlike his men, who still thought they were part of some rebel navy fighting for the rightful king, Hornigold understood they were just a bunch of thieves[2].

Upon arriving in Nassau in 1705[1], he was able to gain respect among his fellow pirates, proving himself capable enough to become one of the leaders of New Providence Island. Hornigold became lauded as one of the founders of the Pirate Republic[3].

At some point, Hornigold took a prize near Boston. losing six men in the fight. On that ship he found a chair which was once in the Plymouth office of Sir Francis Drake. It became a prized possession[2].

In 1707, Eleanor Guthrie decided to solidify her power and take over the fencing operation her father had left in the care of Mr. Scott. She convinced Hornigold to turn against Edward Teach, the most feared pirate on the island, by promising him control of Fort Nassau, giving Hornigold a position of immense power on the island.  He was then revered as the de facto "governor" of the island and resided at the abandoned English fort overlooking the town[3].

Season One[]

In 1715, Captain Flint's quartermaster Gates approached Hornigold and asked him to hand over the captaincy of his ship, the Royal Lion, to Gates, so that Flint could have an entire fleet to attack the Urca de Lima, the biggest Spanish treasure galleon in the Americas. When Gates arrives, he complains about having to climb a lot of stairs to meet Hornigold in his tower sitting in his old chair. Hornigold asks his crewman, Phillip, if he knows the history of  the chair. Hornigold explains that the chair was taken in a prize off the coast of Boston, and once sat in the office of Francis Drake. Hornigold jokes that if Gates touches the chair, Phillip should shoot him.

The two then discuss how it was once a laughable idea for a pirate to try and take a treasure galleon. Hornigold originally thinks that he is to be the consort, but Gates explains that he will captain the ship. and Ben's crew. Every man will get a share and Hornigold will get two personally.  Hornigold agreed to the proposition. However, he also voices his worries about his crew's faith in him. Gates asks if he has heard any news from his friends in Edinburgh, and Hornigold replies that the last he heard, James Francis Edward Stuart had fled to France and they were calling him "the Pretender" now. He explains to Gates that he promised his men that if they remained by his side, they would be soldiers fighting in a rebel navy to restore a rightful king. Now, Hornigold believes that they are all realizing the uncomfortable truth that they are thieves awaiting the noose[2]

After the events the lead to Charles Vane losing his crew and ship, Hornigold goes to Mr. Scott to warn him of the growing discontent and fear among the other captains on the island. He tells him that Lilywhite, a local captain known for his openly speaking against Richard Guthrie and his daughter, is attracting a larger crowd now that what he is saying is starting to come to pass[4].

Hornigold in the meeting.

Not long after this, Richard Guthrie tells the captains that he is a fugitive from the law, and he will no longer be able to deal with the captains, and that any money owed or credited is gone. This leads to the assembly of a mob outside the bar in which Eleanor works. In order to keep the peace, Hornigold and his men come to stand guard at the inn, ensuring the mob keeps its distance. Hornigold suggests to Eleanor that it would be best to just give them their money and let it die down, even offering to loan her some money if she is short. She instead calls a meeting with the two most and two least successful captains, Frasier, a local appraiser and merchant, and Captain Hornigold. At the meeting she proposes that the seven of them restart her father's business. Frasier, the two successful captains, and Naft all agree it is possible and that they are willing, while Geoffrey Lawrence is unsure and offended by the idea that his ship (one of the least successful) be moved from pirating to transporting the stolen good. On asking Hornigold if he accepts the arrangement, Hornigold admits it is an almost perfect plan, but tells Eleanor he will only support her if she removes the block on Vane. He explains that as long she blocks Vane, the captains will hate and fear her. On top of that, anybody supporting her is at risk of retaliation from the rest of the captains and their crews. He then informs her she has until nightfall to agree, or he and his men will leave[5].

After waiting several hours for Eleanor to give him an answer. Eleanor finally contents and lifts the ban on Vane. Hornigold promises to give the good news to Lilywhite[6]

Several days later, Flint returns from his voyage, along with over thirty slaves and most of the cannon from the Andromache. As Mr. Scott is leaving the slaves after meeting with them and giving them food, Hornigold asks Scott if he can think of any way to control Eleanor and keep her from doing anything reckless. Scott points out that Hamund and the rest of Vane's crew have vanished, and they both know they did not just leave the island as the rumours say. Scott continues to say that Eleanor had them killed because giving lifting the ban was seen by Eleanor as backing down and admitting she was wrong. At this, Hornigold agrees that it would be impossible to control her and that all they can do is guide her and hope for the best[7].

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The next day, Hornigold is on the beach with the rest of the Consortium to see off Lawrence as he heads out for the fist time as a "legitimate businessman". As they are saying goodbye, the cannon from Hornigold's fort fire into the harbour. Hornigold is quickly able to gather over two hundred men ready to storm the fort and retake it, but is stopped by Eleanor when Vane tells her he wants to talk. When Eleanor returns, she tells Hornigold that Vane has control of the fort, and, as a result, Nassau. She tells him that Vane's terms of peace was Hornigold's spot on the Consortium. When Hornigold says that they can still take the fort from the secret entrance, she tells him that she told Vane about it, infuriating Hornigold. He storms off, furious that everything was just stolen from him[8].

Season Two[]

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Hornigold is camped on the beach in a small shack when Captain Flint returns to Nassau. Flint is shocked when he learns about what transpired with the fort, and goes to see Eleanor. Before he returns, Hornigold asks John Silver how he can be unconcerned about standing by Flint when they set sail, Gates had Flint's ear and Silver was "ballast." Now, Silver is in that position and Gates is dead at Flint's hand. Silver replies that he has five million reasons to stay by Flint's side. When Flint returns, he agrees that Eleanor is not in her right head about Vane. He agrees to join forces with Flint on their journey back to the wreck of the Urca, because they will need at least one more ship to defeat the Spanish soldiers guarding the treasure. However, in order to safely return the Urca gold, they must first neutralize the threat posed by Vane and the fortress. That night, they combine their crews and order Vane to surrender the fort by sunrise the next day, or else they will open fire[9].

They send a messenger to Vane, ordering him to abandon the fort before dawn, or they will attack with the Man O’ War. With information from Hornigold, they moor the ship where the fortress cannot place its batteries. They spend the day planning for the assault in the great cabin. Hornigold advises targeting the southeast bastion first. After the batteries are destroyed, he then says they should aim for one of the weaker defensive walls until the courtyard is exposed and they can make a ground assault. Flint asks him how long it would take to rebuild, and Hornigold estimates 10 weeks to restore the batteries and twice that to re-secure the interior, calling it a short window in the grand scheme. Flint reminds him that it is a short window that coincides with a British warship sitting at anchor 40 miles from them. Hornigold voices his concern that Flint won't follow through with their plan, despite Hornigold's pledge of men and resources to aid Flint's quest for the Urca gold.

Later, Eleanor Guthrie arrives aboard the ship and is brought to the great cabin, where deliberations are continuing. She gives Flint Vane's reply, which is being read aloud on the beach. Flint orders the room to be cleared, against Hornigold's wishes, but he relents. Scott later brings the news that Vane's reply is drawing recruits to his cause, swelling his numbers. Flint orders Hornigold to appeal directly to the captains and to remind them that it's their ships and cargo that will be subject to Vane's extortion, while Flint promises to appeal to the crews on the beach. That night, Hornigold, Scott and Flint reconvene, and Hornigold reports that they stemmed the flow of recruits to the fort, and the captains he spoke with agree with their position, with some even committing men and resources to the final assault. While support is on their side, division is rampant among the crews and there are even reports of skirmishes in the camps. Flint then asks for numbers, and Hornigold answers that they are facing roughly 65 men in the fort, plus or minus ten, while they bring to bear 90 men with an additional 50 pledged by sister crews. He anticipates that fighting on rough terrain against an entrenched enemy, they'll likely lose 60 men. At dawn, Flint and Hornigold give the order to open fire on the fortress[10].

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Hornigold and Flint continue to hammer the fort with their cannons, eventually breaching its walls. They then move their men ashore in longboats. Flint and Hornigold agree that they need to move quickly so they can get to the gold as soon as possible. They also need to ensure that their men don't divulge the location of the gold and thus face another crew as competition. Hornigold assures Flint that if he adheres to the plan, he'll have his gold and Hornigold his fort. However, Flint calls for a cease-fire when Miranda Barlow meets him at the beach, ordering the men to wait on the beach while he goes with her to The Tavern[11].

While Flint is at the Tavern, Hornigold expresses to Dufresne his fear that the men cannot be kept waiting and that they either have to fight or learn that the attack is called off. Dufresne replies that much can be said about Flint, but he is not one to shy away from a fight, and he is certain that whatever he is doing is to help them prevail in the fight. Hornigold says that sooner or later he'll stop caring about Flint's motives and lead the attack himself. At the Tavern, Flint learns from Mrs. Barlow that Vane has captured Abigail Ashe, the daughter of the Governor of Carolina. She persuades Flint that he must take Abigail from Vane, and return her safely to Charles Town, in return for pardoning all the pirates of Nassau. Flint and Eleanor eventually negotiate the return of Abigail, in return for standing down his men from attacking the fort. Upon Flint's return, Hornigold learns that Flint plans to allow Vane to keep the fort. He then challenges Flint for captaincy of the combined crew, noting his decades long career as a pirate and rebel, he refuses to merely bow to Flint's whims[1].

That night, the crew gathers for the election in the Guthrie Warehouse. Hornigold is given the chance to speak first. In his speech, Hornigold tells the men how Flint is untrustworthy and will betray them all. He tells them that Flint betrayed Gates and himself, and that they'll be next on the list if they vote for Flint. He says all of Flint's promises are smoke and mirrors, and he just lies for his own gains. The crew then overhears that the gold is gone. This evaporates support for Hornigold's position, as no one wants to commit themselves to a bloody battle for nothing. Silver commiserates with the men over the loss of the gold. He goes on to say that as pirates, they've only chosen the life they lead out of necessity. He goes on to tell them that Flint has offered them a way out of that life, where they can still be free but no longer have to be outlaws. After Silver's speech, the vast majority of the men vote in favor of Flint. Afterwards, Dufresne and eight others are thrown off the crew for planning to betray Flint. However, Dufresne learned from Billy Bones that the English would grant ten pardons for capturing Flint and bringing him to the English forces on Harbour Island. He approaches Hornigold as he prepares to leave Nassau for some place else, not knowing where though given that he is too recognizable for the British colonies. Dufresne then informs him about the pardon deal[12].

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With Flint out of reach, they travel to the Barlow Estate, where they find Eleanor Guthrie meeting with Underhill. After killing Eleanor's guards, they promise Underhill that they have no quarrel with him, but take Eleanor into their custody. At Harbour Island, Hornigold, Dufresne and their men meet with Captain Francis Hume of the Royal Navy. Hornigold explains that Eleanor was the trade boss of Nassau and lorded over it and that it cannot function without her, urging Hume to imagine the celebrity that will be heaped upon her captor. Hume finds this satisfactory and hands over the pardons[13].

The word spreads through Nassau that Hornigold arrested Eleanor and handed her over to the Navy. Idelle informs Max of this, and that the pirates on the beach are drinking in celebration while the merchants in town are worried about unrest. Max then moves to purchase Eleanor's stakes in all the prominent legitimate businesses in town, becoming the new merchant queen[14]

Season Three[]

In the months since he received a pardon in exchange handing Eleanor Guthrie over to the British, Captain Hornigold and his crew have become pirate-hunters, sanctioned by the Royal Navy. They can grant pardons for all pirates, as a precursor for the imminent arrival of Governor Woodes Rogers and an English fleet in Nassau, intent on re-establishing English governance. Hornigold captures the ship of pirate Captain Hallendale, and pardons all the pirates except the captain. Hallendale is left chained in his cabin on the abandoned ship as a trap for other pirates. Eventually, Captain Flint and the Walrus investigate the ship, allowing Hornigold to chase them with no chance for the Walrus to escape. When he catches up to them, Hornigold offers them all pardons in exchange for their surrender. However, he tells Dufresne that he plans on sinking them whether they surrender or not. Flint convinces the crew to reject the pardons and escape into a terrible storm. As the Walrus flees, the Orion fires her cannons, scoring several hits, as Hornigold pursues Flint into the storm[15].

Hornigold pursues Flint into the storm, firing his bow chasers as they begin to close the gap. Eventually, he breaks off his pursuit in order to avoid having to deal with the full force of the storm. After the storm abates, he patrols the area and finds a large amount of debris, including the flag of the Walrus, leading him to believe that Flint went down in the storm. Hornigold meets up with Rogers’s fleet at St. Kitts. He meets Governor Woodes Rogers aboard the Delicia, and expresses concern over a rumor he heard about a fugitive Rogers had freed. He is then shocked to see Eleanor onboard, and says she is not to be trusted. Rogers replies that he trusts neither of them and expects them to serve as a check against the other. Hornigold then explains that Flint was driven into a storm and is presumed dead, providing the flag as proof[3].

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When the British fleet arrives inNassau, they find a resolute defence flying the flag of Blackbeard. Rogers holds a meeting of his senior counselors in his cabin aboard his flagship as they discuss their options. Chamberlain vetoes a direct assault and Rogers' idea to go to the beach himself and read his address, citing that as the officer responsible for the safety of the fleet and Rogers, he cannot allow plans as reckless as those. Eleanor convinces Rogers to send Hornigold into the port to make a pardon address, pointing out that many of the pirates have sailed under him or respect him immensely, plus Rogers doesn't really care if he dies. Hornigold and Dufresne sail past the Pirate Fleet in a boat flying the white flag. On the shore, Hornigold reads the address, promising all who surrender a full pardon, and placing a £10,000 bounty on Vane's death or capture. Throckmorton leads the pirates on the beach in surrendering en masse[16].

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With the pirates on the beach having surrendered, the only holdouts are the fleet commanded by Teach and the crew of the Colonial Dawn in Fort Nassau. In order to facilitate their escape, Jack, Anne and Vane blow up the fort's powder magazine, bringing down one of the walls and allowing them to flee in the chaos. Seeing the smoke from town, Hornigold orders Dufresne to spread the word that Vane is likely at large and to remind them of the bounty. Despite the best efforts of several bounty seekers, Vane is able to escape to Teach's fleet. Afterwards, Hornigold meets with Dufresne at the Tavern and tells him to inform Commodore Chamberlain that their men have successfully taken over the fort, its garrison having surrendered after the wall came down. Dufresne asks what he should say about how the explosion has affected their plans to retrieve the gold and Hornigold says to say that it certainly isn't helping. Hornigold then sees Mr. Scott waiting in line for a pardon and enthusiastically greets his former quartermaster, pushing him to the head of the line. The two then discuss the new Governor, and Hornigold admits he has his doubts but is more at ease with the pardon than without. Scott offers to help, and Hornigold asks if he can help them locate the slaves who had been repairing the fort for the pirates. Scott explains that they know him well, and he can persuade them to return and wants to avoid them being caught by "less understanding Redcoats." That night however, Scott helps the slave escape to the Maroon Island, for which he is secretly the "Away King." Two Redcoat patrolmen happen on the scene, and Scott tries to diffuse the situation, promising to explain to Hornigold, but the soldiers and slaves exchange fire and Scott is hit and wounded. The slaves then flee, taking Scott with them[17].

After the Pirate Fleet escapes, Rogers and his men establish themselves in town. Hornigold secures the Urca Gold and informs Governor Rogers at the Governor's Mansion. Rogers tells Hornigold to transfer command of the fort to Commodore Chamberlain and have him ready the gold for shipment to Havana. Before he leaves, Eleanor asks Hornigold if he knows about Rackham's whereabouts, and he replies that he learned that they had fled and their location unknown[18].

After Rackham is taken into custody, he agrees to write a letter to Anne Bonny telling her to surrender the Cache of Gems to the British so the Spanish do not retaliate against Nassau. Lieutenant Hersey is sent to deliver the message, but it is a coded message for Anne to run and she kills the soldier and flees. Hersey's body is recovered by other soldiers and brought back to town. That night, Hornigold briefs the New Providence Militia on their mission. He informs them that they are hunting Anne Bonny, and her captor will be rewarded £500, and that she was last seen several miles down the road out of town. The mounted militia scour the island for Anne, but she evades them[19].

After John Silver proclaims Captain Flint's return in the Tavern and kills Dufresne, the scene is closed off by soldiers as the body is removed and Rogers, Eleanor, Max and Hornigold meet. Max informs them that the people present said that Silver killed him and said Flint is alive, but Flint was not present and Hornigold adds that Dufresne was the only one who knew him well enough to say whether it really was Silver. Nevertheless, it was said that Flint would be returning east of the bay to take on recruits. Rogers says that they cannot allow any defectors, as it would bolster Flint's image if he is alive. Hornigold offers to post men at the beach and to oversee it himself but Rogers says that if Flint does not appear, it makes him appear weak, and asks Max to ascertain that no one will be at the beach because no wants to be there. Eleanor then offers a solution. The next morning, Rogers pitches a tent at the beach, and waits under a flag of parley for Flint to arrive, shaming anyone who arrived to join Flint. The move works, and after Flint meets with Rogers, the pardon is revoked[20]

Rogers departs Nassau in a caravan guarded by Dragoons on a secret route to the southern coast, where a ship is waiting to transport Jack and the cache to Havana. After Eleanor and Max learn that Flint plans to ambush the convoy, they have no luck convincing Commodore Chamberlain of a plot, so Eleanor turns to Hornigold, approaching him while he reads a newspaper in the Tavern. Eleanor says that they need to swallow their pride and work together to stop Flint. Hornigold is shocked by news of the plot- and that he was not informed- but Eleanor reminds him that Chamberlain and the others may not know Flint, but they do, so it falls to them to try and thwart him. Hornigold thinks for a moment, and says he saw the Walrus depart, However, a lookout in his employ kept an eye on the spot the Walrus was last seen, and reported glints of light every 15 minutes, which Hornigold realizes is the reflection of a spyglass, and the ship is waiting below the horizon under bare poles. He then expresses his eagerness to defeat Flint after he escaped Hornigold once and killed his partner, Dufresne. He agrees to put aside any feud he has with Eleanor to focus on defeating Flint. Hornigold sends a contingent of his militia on horseback down the road the Governor was traveling. While the guards had been killed and the cache already stolen, they are able to arrest Charles Vane. Meanwhile, Hornigold sails after the Walrus, who after picking up the shore party, Jack and the cache in tow, sails for the Maroon Island.[21]

Hornigold follows the pirates to the Maroon Island. However, Flint and Silver pull a daring move to turn the ship's broadside on Hornigold. Hornigold orders his crew to break off the pursuit and sail up the coast to deploy their men on the beach, where they will be out of range of the pirates' cannons. Before he can finish the thought, he sees a small army of ex-slaves amass themselves on the beach, and is forced to fall back. Back in Nassau, Hornigold is present for the execution of Charles Vane, who gives a dying speech encouraging the former pirates and people of Nassau to revolt against British rule, and many seem to take it to heart. After his hanging, he joins the strategy meeting held by Eleanor to plan their retrieval of the cache from the pirates and Maroons. Eleanor tells a balking Chamberlain that he will take the three additional ships she outfitted, along with Hornigold's militia and a company of men from the plantations with expertise in hunting down escaped slaves. Chamberlain agrees, and the seven ships set sail for the Maroon Island[22].

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Hornigold returns to the island accompanying an overwhelming English fleet. After bombarding the beach, the Redcoats and militia land and use mortars to force the pirates to fall back. Major Rollins prepares to lead his men after them but Hornigold advises caution, arguing that he knows Flint is likely trying to lure them into a trap, and Rollins is shocked that Flint would sacrifice 50 of his men to try and trap them. While they plan their next moves, Dobbs, who had been tasked with trying to assassinate Hornigold, instead turns himself in, offering to betray the pirates and lead the British to the camp. In order to prove his loyalty, Hornigold has Dobbs shoot a Pirate Prisoner. After Dobbs does so, Hornigold frees him and orders the men to prepare to move out. Dobbs leads them to the Camp, and says that there are only 100 men left to guard the camp, the rest being women and children. When asked about the cache, he says it is buried nearby, but Silver knows the location and cannot run away on account of his prosthetic. After bombarding the camp with mortars, Hornigold tells Rollins they can likely send in their men in an hour and have the cache and Rackham back before sundown. However, Hornigold notices Dobbs smirking at him and orders everyone to pull back but it is too late; Dobbs has led the entire British force into a massive ambush. As the pirates and Maroons slaughter the Redcoats and militiamen, Hornigold shoots Dobbs as he tries to attack him. He continues cutting down enemies from horseback before spying Flint. Hornigold charges at Flint, who is able to reload a musket and shoot Hornigold fatally in the chest, before proudly standing over Hornigold's dying body[23].

Personality[]

Hornigold is a grizzled old veteran of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), and a privateer-turned-pirate. It is said that half the men in Nassau have sailed under him at one point or another. They respect him as much, if not more, than any other captain. He is a realist who appreciates that the Golden Age of Pirates is almost over. However, when Flint and Eleanor refuse to help return him to his rightful role as steward of the fort, he feels betrayed and justified in handing Eleanor over to the English and turning pirate-hunter.

Memorable Quotes[]

"No matter how many lies we tell ourselves or how many stories we convince ourselves we're a part of...we're all just thieves awaiting a noose." - Hornigold to Gates in III.

"After fifty years at sea, you're the only man I've ever met who's gotten dumber with age." Hornigold to Gates in III.

"I've been a captain of men at sea going on three decades, survived a war with Spain, an insurrection against a queen, a decade as an outlaw in a place where the weak and the dead are one and the same." Hornigold to Flint in XIV.

"A man asks for your trust, he asks and offers you things in the future. And the brighter those things may be, the more you must ask yourself, "What is it they are intended to blind me to in the present?" It's no surprise that that man wants to shift your attention to the future. To the things he says he can give you. To the hardships he can remove. A most shining future it would have to be for him to blind you to the cowardly and devious acts of his past... theft, betrayal, lies, murder!"- Hornigold's speech at the election in XV.

"You don't know that man, Major, but I do. He's quite capable of what you suggest and more." Hornigold tries to convince Major Rollins that Flint would sacrifice over 50 of his men just to entice them into an ambush.

Trivia[]

  • Benjamin Hornigold was, in real life, one of the primary establishing members of the Pirate Republic of Nassau. He was captain to Edward Teach and taught him everything he knew about pirating. In the show, this relationship is never mentioned.
  • The historical Hornigold was really known not to attack British ships, apparently to maintain the legal defence that he was a privateer operating against England's enemies in the War of the Spanish Succession.
  • He was historically killed by drowning when his ship was wrecked on a reef during the 1719 hurricane season.
  • Hornigold is not seen clearly on screen in XXIV., but his voice can be heard as Rogers stares out of his window at what is supposed to be Hornigold briefing his men on their mission.

Appearances[]

Season One
I. II. III. IV.
V. VI. VII. VIII.
Season Two
IX. X. XI. XII. XIII.
XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII.
Season Three
XIX. XX. XXI. XXII. XXIII.
XXIV. XXV. XXVI. XXVII. XXVIII.

References[]

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