|Title|| Quartermaster (formerly)|
|Ships|| Ranger (formerly)|
|Relationships|| Charles Vane (Ex-Captain/Friend; deceased)|
Anne Bonny (Lover)
James Flint (Rival/Ally/Friend)
Edward Teach (Rival/Ally; deceased)
John Silver (Partner)
Woodes Rogers (Enemy)
|Appearances|| First I.|
|Portrayed by||Toby Schmitz|
|Gallery||Jack Rackham gallery|
- "A story is true. A story is untrue. As time extends, it matters less and less. The stories we want to believe, those are the ones that survive, despite upheaval and transition and progress. Those are the stories that shape history."
- ―Jack Rackham[src]
Jack Rackham is a pirate captain who operated in the Bahamas during the early 18th century. He served as the Quartermaster on the pirate ship Ranger. Rackham was the brains behind Captain Vane's brawn, and in some ways even more dangerous than him. Then he moved on and became the captain of the pirate ship, Colonial Dawn. Thanks to John Silver and Max, he learned the location of the Urca gold, and he and his pirates successfully brought it to Nassau.
At the end of the series, he survives the final battle, defeating Woodes Rogers, prefering to have humiliated him, instead of killing him, to avenge Charles Vane and Edward Teach, and is reunited with Anne Bonny.
John "Jack" Rackham was born in Leeds in northern England, the son of a successful tailor specialising in cotton calico. His father’s business went bankrupt, when corrupt competitors in the wool industry placed an embargo on importing fine cotton. In shame his father descended into drink and died. Shortly after the funeral, a man visited Jack claiming to hold debts belonging to his father. Rackham was forced to flee the country to escape the debtors-workhouse.
Many years before 1715, he met and rescued a 13 year old girl called Anne Bonny when he slit the throat of her abusive husband. The two would later become constant companions and lovers before they joined the pirate crew of Charles Vane sometime before 1715.
Rackham first appeared outside a bar in Nassau as he observed Gates heading to talk to Mosiah. Later that evening he engaged in a conversation with Singleton, inquiring as to why Singleton was so happy. He stated that he had hoped to have a toast to Singleton's coronation as new Captain of the Walrus, but now he is not so sure it will happen. He then presumably told Singleton about the meeting between Mosiah and Gates. Singleton then confronted Mosiah about whether he and his fellow Africans would vote for him. When Mosiah announced his intention to vote for Captain Flint, Rackham's lover Anne Bonny appeared from behind Rackham and killed Levi, who moved forward to defend Mosiah. Bonny then presumably killed Mosiah. It is later revealed that the confrontation between Mosiah and Singleton was engineered by Rackham for the purposes of advancing Charles Vane's interests. Rackham stated that if Singleton became Captain of the Walrus, he would likely have proved so ineffective that many of his crew would have defected and joined Vane's crew.
Later, Rackham was approached by Max, a local prostitute. She told Rackham that she had something that he might want to buy, referring to the shipping schedule of the Spanish treasure galleon Urca de Lima on behalf of a silent partner (John Silver). Rackham would eventually borrow 5,000 pesos from the crew's prize money to finance the purchase, by exchanging the money for black pearls. The deal came undone when Vane lost his temper and assaulted Max and then later killed John Silver's proxy. Silver was spooked by Vane's violence and fled from the exchange, prompting Rackham to chase him. During the pursuit, Rackham fell from a cliff edge into the ocean, losing the pearls in the process.
Rackham was threatened by members of the Ranger crew who demanded that he replace the money he had lost. Desperately looking for some way to redeem himself, Rackham convinced Gates, the quartermaster of the Walrus, to let the Ranger act in tandem with the Walrus in the search for the treasure ship. This arrangement would eventually fall apart when Vane's former lover, Eleanor Guthrie, demandedd that the crew of the Ranger switch allegiance from Vane to Flint. Following the loss of his ship and crew, Vane fell into a deep depression. Despite his best efforts, Rackham could not get Vane out of his drunken stupor. Eventually, when Vane killed the owner of the brothel, Noonan, Rackham seized the opportunity and took over ownership of the brothel, bribing Mrs. Mapleton to keep silent of her suspicions of Noonan's fate.
While lounging in bed with Bonny one evening, he was set upon by Hamund and other members of the Ranger crew who had been fed a lie that Rackham still had the pearls and had buried them at The Wrecks. To Rackham's astonishment, Bonny admitted that the allegations were true and that she could show them where the pearls were buried. When the Ranger crew went to The Wrecks, they were attacked and killed by Eleanor Guthrie's men, save for Rackham and Bonny. Bonny later revealed that she had formulated the plan to get rid of the remaining members of the Ranger crew since they were a threat to Max and Rackham himself.
Rackham initially found running the brothel to be a losing venture. He could not figure out why the brothel wasn't turning a profit. He eventually uncovered, through the help of Max, that the prostitutes at the brothel weren't paying him the full amount that they earned.
With the help of Max, Rackham is able to turn the brothel around and bring in steady profits. It becomes so good that he decides to cut ties with Mrs. Mapleton and sever their agreement. She threatens to tell people what happened to Noonan, but Rackham and Max remind her that most people would not care as the brothel has been giving discounts and benefits to anybody who might pose a threat. She storms out telling Rackham that he will regret what he has done.
A few days later, Vane returns to the island and takes over the fort overlooking the port, giving himself total control of the island. He soon hears from Mapleton what happened to the crew and goes to pay Rackham a visit. Vane tells Rackham that he won't kill him, but he promises to make sure that everybody knows how he sided with Anne over his own crew. While Rackham remains alive, any dreams of joining or leading his own crew are killed.
Season Two Edit
Rackham is now a pariah in Nassau, as word has gotten out that he took part in killing members of his own crew. When Rackham finds out that Max has been selling leads from the prostitutes to other pirates, he comes up with the idea to get a ship and a crew and use the leads that Max receives to enrich the three of them with equal profit of the spoils. Meanwhile, a tense three-way sexual relationship has developed between Max, Bonny and Rackham.
Rackham's attempts to raise a crew end in abject failure, due to his reputation. That continues until Max finds out information on a hostage held by a pirate called Ned Low for Charles Vane, in exchange for him forgiving Rackham and Bonny so that they may sail again.
Max continues to demonstrate her shrewdness when she helps manipulate an influential pirate named Featherstone to join Rackham, along with 28 other men and their ship. However, the new crew will not accept both Max and Bonny receiving such a significant share of any future profits. When Rackham tells Bonny she must stay ashore for a while, Bonny storms off. Meanwhile, Flint has returned to Nassau, but Rackham notices that none of Flint’s crew has visited the brothel. Rackham tells Max to find out from him anything she can about the Urca gold.
Out at sea, Rackham and the crew of the Colonial Dawn are following a lead from Max to the True North. Rackham's crew successfully captures the ship, but another pirate ship, the Goliath, pulls up alongside to claim the prize also. A tense negotiation ensues between the captain of the Goliath, Linus Harcourt, and Rackham on how to split of the prize.
Harcourt quickly recognises Rackham’s inexperience as captain, and offers him just 1/10th of the profit. Rackham realises that if he were to accept such paltry terms, his men would vote him out as captain. Instead, Rackham decides to fight Harcourt man-to-man. Despite being truly awful at fighting, Rackham comes out on top thanks to a lucky slash at Harcourt’s throat. Rackham then negotiates more reasonable terms with the new leader of the Goliath crew.
Back in Nassau, Max has learnt that the Urca gold is still on the beach and Rackham immediately begins preparations to retrieve the gold. He also learns that Bonny has left Nassau, and is clearly distraught. Featherstone, Max, and Rackham try to figure out what they are going to do once they actually get the gold back to Nassau. Rackham eventually comes up with the idea of asking Vane to store the gold in the fortress. However, when they go to the fortress they find it empty, except for Richard Guthrie’s corpse.
Meanwhile, Eleanor has figured out what Max and Rackham are up to, and sends men to assassinate them. However, Bonny reappears and saves them, killing both assassins. Taking refuge in the brothel, Max insists that they must leave immediately.
Aboard the Colonial Dawn to retrieve the Urca gold, Rackham and Anne Bonny reconcile; she tells him that she can't be his wife, but they will be partners until they are both dead. The Spanish men on the beach put up an admirable fight, but Rackham’s crew win the day. They return to Nassau with not only the Colonial Dawn but also the salvaged Walrus in order to carry all the gold. They meet Max at the beach, and Rackham tells her he wants to show her something "shiny". He takes her into the hold of one of the ships, revealing the long desired Urca gold. Max smiles in the light of the glittering gold.
Season Three Edit
In the months since the end of Season 2, the Urca gold has been split between Rackham, Bonny, Max, Flint, Vane, and their crews. Rackham is in charge of restoring the fort in Nassau, however with the pirates newfound wealth, he cannot get anyone to work. Rackham reluctantly tricks Vane into capturing a slave ship, and using the slaves to rebuild the fort.
Fearing that the Spanish or English will respond overwhelmingly to the theft of the gold, Max tries to persuade Rackham to exchange their gold for pearls, so that it is easier to transport should they need to abandon Nassau. Soon, Blackbeard arrives on the island, and renews his friendship with Vane. Teach is less than impressed at Rackham's status as a partner, because he remembers Rackham as a scrawny crew member. Realising that Blackbeard is a volcano building towards its inevitable eruption, Rackham agrees to Max's plan - as long as it's done quietly.
Soon, news reaches Nassau of the imminent arrival of Woodes Rogers and a fleet, intent of re-establishing English governance. Rackham tries to rally the pirates for the defence of Nassau. However, with the fort unfinished, and their only true navel strategist Flint missing, some of them are resigned to defeat. However, Blackbeard offers to step in and coordinate the pirate fleet.
The pirates fight to save Nassau proves short-lived. Rogers offers all the pirates pardons and most accept. Rackham, Vane, Bonny and their crew are stuck in the fort with men slowly gathering for the bounty on Vane’s head. Rackham is force to acknowledge that the defence of Nassau is over and comes up with a new plan; to destroy a portion of the fort so Vane can escape with Blackbeard’s fleet.
Rackham and Bonny also flee Nassau overland with their share of pearls. However when they are almost clean away, Rackham has a change of heart. He insists he wants to keep his name by going to Nassau to take the pardon.
Unbeknownst to Rackham, Governor Rogers has learned about Rackham and Bonny’s cache of pearls. When Rackham attempts to garner a pardon, he is taken into custody. Rogers warns Rackham that if the pearls are not returned, the Spanish will invade. Rackham eventually agrees to send a letter to Bonny seemingly instructing her to turn over the cache. However, he has secretly given Bonny instructions to take the cache and run. Outside Nassau, Bonny follows Rackham’s orders, and kills the Governor’s messenger.
On learning that Governor Rogers has Rackham in their custody, the Spanish demand that both the gold and the man who stole it are handed over. Rogers eventually tricks Bonny with Max’s help into handing over the cache. He prepares to deliver them to the Spanish, departing Nassau in a convoy accompanied by a large contingent of armed soldiers.
On route to the southern coast, the convoy comes under swift attack from Flint’s men on horseback. After killing all of Rogers’ men in the convoy, Vane shoots the wheel of the carriage sending it careening off the road. Jack is banged up pretty badly, but alive, and he and Anne share a passionate kiss. Vane urges Flint to take the pearls and run ahead, while he frees Rackham from his chains. Rackham and Bonny flee as they spot more of the Governor’s men approaching, however Vane is outnumbered and arrested. Billy Bones is sent back to Nassau to try and stir resentment towards Rogers and rescue Vane.
On the Maroons Island, Rackham and Bonny contemplating the cache of pearls, and how it now represents Vane’s sacrifice. As they prepare for the English fleet to attack the island, Rackham asks Flint to command the Walrus during the battle. Rackham wants to strive to meet Vane’s own ideals and avenge his name.
While Rackham is preparing to attack the overwhelming English fleet, a second fleet appears to the East, which Rackham recognises as Blackbeard’s fleet. He persuades Teach join the fight. While the two fleets engage cannon fire, Bonny leads a boarding party swimming unnoticed to capture one of the English ships. They open fire on the rest of the fleet, forcing them to retreat. The victory may have won Rackham some respect from Teach.
Season Four Edit
After their victory on the Maroon Island, Rackham and Bonny sails with Blackbeard as the pirates set their sights on retaking Nassau. What was supposed to be an invasion of overwhelming force, only ends in disaster. Woodes Rogers continues to demonstrate his cunning, sinking ships as a hidden blockade to the harbour. Most of pirate fleet run aground within range of Nassau’s cannons, and bloody carnage ensues. The only ship not caught is Blackbeard’s, which makes a tactical retreat to draw Rogers’ fleet away from the survivors.
Blackbeard’s ship is quickly chased down by the nimble navy sloops. Rackham insists on fighting in the vanguard as they repel the boarders, risking his life to become worthy in Blackbeard’s eyes. In the aftermath, Bonny sets him straight; honour Charles Vane’s sacrifice by doing things his own way. However, Jack is blinded by the stars in his eyes when he stands on the quarterdeck next to Blackbeard; his ego demands he go down in history.
Returning to blockade Nassau port, Blackbeard orders Bonny to sneak into Nassau and kidnap Eleanor, instead of pursing the Governor’s ship which is preparing to sail. However, Bonny confides that she no longer has any room in her heart for vengeance; not on Eleanor, nor on Max. It’s up to Rackham to relay her sentiments to Blackbeard, which he does by eloquently invoking their mutual fondness for Vane; he always focused on the best move to achieve their ultimate goal. Go after Rogers it is.
After raking Rogers’ ship with cannon fire, Blackbeard and Bonny lead the boarding party. Once aboard, something doesn’t feel right and with good reason. Rogers springs his trap and a bloody battle ensues. In the end, the unthinkable happens; Blackbeard is captured. Rackham watches helplessly from aboard The Revenge, and unfurls the white flag. In the aftermath, Jack and Bonny look on as Blackbeard is callously keelhauled three times, dragging him under the ship covered with razor sharp barnacles. Rackham, who was next in line, is only spared by Blackbeard’s defiance to the end.
When Rogers learns that Nassau has fallen, he orders his lieutenant to take his sloop and deliver the pirates to Port Royal to hang. Although he agrees, he’ll dole out a little retribution first by having Mr. Milton bludgeon some of the pirates to death one by one. Eventually, Bonny has had enough, and convinces Jack not to name another pirate, certain she’ll be picked her next. In the bloody brawl that follows, Bonny is almost pummelled to death, but desperately manages to grab the keys, and free her brethren. They take the ship, but Bonny is left barely clinging to life.
Rackham returns to New Providence Island, to learn that Flint has agreed to exchange Nassau Fort for the Urca gold. Jack is horrified; having seen Rogers for the man he truly is, he’ll never accept such a deal. He’s soon proved right, when Max shows up on the beach with news that Rogers has returned with a Spanish Armada. Jack isn’t so happy to see her, but allows Max to join him aboard their ship.
At sea, Featherstone wants to leave before the Spanish spots them, but Rackham opts to wait for anyone who survives the day. They’re eventually joined by Flint, Silver and the other survivors of the sack of Nassau. The two ships plan to head for the Maroon Island and regroup. Max, however, will have her revenge for Eleanor’s death, and convinces Jack to head to Philadelphia to seek help from Eleanor’s grandfather.
Arriving in Philadelphia, Rackham plans to win Joseph Guthrie as a partner in imprisoning Rogers for causing the death of his granddaughter. He tries to appeal to grandpa Guthrie’s business side, saying the Guthries would gain a significant stake in Nassau’s legitimate trading operations. However, Guthrie is in the company his respectable business partners, and shows him the door. Nevertheless, Eleanor’s grandmother meets Jack outside. She’s the real brains behind the Guthrie business, and sees merit in his proposal but will need convincing. Rackham decides to bring Max to help make their case with Marion Guthrie. With the help of Max’s financial ledgers and feminine wiles, they convince her… but there is a catch. Jack Rackham must kill the one man who will continue the never-ending circle of violence in Nassau; James Flint.
In Nassau, Rackham learns that Rogers and Flint are to make the exchange on Skeleton Island. Recruiting an old sailor who once sailed with Avery, Jack makes it to the uncharted island, just as Rogers is leading the attack on the Walrus. After rescuing the survivors, Jack grudgingly allows Flint to take command of the pursuit of Rogers. During the boarding, Rackham spots Rogers through the chaos, and the pair face-off. Rogers seems to be getting the upper hand, when Flint joins the fight. Finally outmatched, Rogers is defeated and the pirates overtake the ship. With Rogers at his mercy, Jack informs him that he will not be keelhauled; instead there’s a far more humiliating end in mind.
In the aftermath, Rackham returns to Philadelphia with word that Captain Flint is no longer a concern; he’s not dead, but retired. Mrs. Guthrie isn’t exactly pleased with the outcome, but Max and Jack assure her that Flint is now not a martyr to the cause. Before the deal is struck, Rackham requests one more favour; to be involved in the writing of an affidavit against the disgraced Governor Rogers.
In the end, Nassau is a legitimate flourishing port under new Governor Augustus Featherstone, although the real power behind the throne is Max. While piracy is officially disapproved of, Rackham and Bonny still covertly sail under the black. Among their crew is a young kid by the name of Mark Read.
Rackham begins the series as the Quartermaster of the Ranger, and the brains behind captain Charles Vane's brawn. He is stylish, witty, well-read, and very proud of his wits, which he takes every opportunity to flaunt. However, Rackham is initially not a very good pirate. He’s not a skilled fighter and his attempts at strategy usually land him in dire situations, his lover Bonny must bail him out of. His foppish appearance and effete mannerisms tend to lead others to underestimate him, and he can’t seem to gain respect. He’s ever fixated on his legacy and a bit obsessed with the adventure he’s invented.
However over the series, he has proved time and again that he is very capable at what he does, culminating in his victory against an overwhelming English fleet at the Maroon Island. It may have even won Rackham some respect from Teach. His captured by Woodes Rogers begins a personal rivalry, in which Rackham asserts that Rogers isn't as morally superior as he seems to think. This is further heightened by Charles Vane's death. In the end Rackham wins out with some help, and deals out a cruel ending to Rogers; instead of killing him, he gets Eleanor's grandmother to buy Rogers' debts and force a default, with all of his failures becoming a matter of public record.
- John "Calico Jack" Rackham was born in Cuba in 1682 to English parents. He first appeared in history as quartermaster on a ship captained by Charles Vane.
- The real "Calico Jack" Rackham is most notable for having designed the famous "Jolly Roger" flag.
- He has a tattoo of a fox on the right side of his abdomen.
- Jack's historical nickname "Calico" is never used in the series, but he mentions that his father dealt with this fabric.
- "Yes, well, we all have our roles to play."
- ―Rackham, I."To be underestimated, It's an incredible gift."
- "Won't take much to lose that new crew of yours. You may have them fooled now, but at sea, perhaps you'll oversleep the bells and need a few hours. Perhaps you'll be handed the glass and need help where to point it. Perhaps you'll slip and fall, and that knee of yours will finally give out. Perhaps, perhaps, ...perhaps. Of course no one will say anything, they respect you to much for that, but the moment the Urca looms close, and the first shot is fired, and you and me will know what every last man on that crew will really be thinking."
- ―Rackham to Gates, III.
- "I feel compelled to state out loud...LIFE IS SIMPLY TOO FUCKING SHORT!!!"
- ―Rackham, IV.
- "I'll have you know I have slit men's throats while they have wept, begging my forbearance, and slept soundly that very night."
- "Would you like to see something shiny?"
- ―Rackham to Max; XVIII.
- "That said, if you're going to behave like children, then I will be your daddy."
- ―Rackham to the crew, XXI.
- "We're all villains in Nassau. Don't think because you're new you're any different."
- ―Rackham tells Rogers a few home truths, XXV.
- "If no Anne, if no rescue, if this is defeat for me, then know this. You and I were neck and neck in this race right till the end. But, Jesus, did I make up a lot of ground to catch you."
- ―Rackham almost had the whole loaf, XXVI.
- "If Charles knew we were even contemplating jeopardizing the grander effort to save him, he’d kill us all."
- ―Rackham convinces Flint not to run to Vane’s rescue, XXVI.
- "If the story of the pirate Jack Rackham is to end with him standing alongside Blackbeard as an equal, together defeating the governor, who hanged Charles Vane and in so doing, restoring pirate rule over Nassau...that is an ending I can live with."
- ―Rackham, XXXI.
- "I watched him defeat Edward Teach, in battle...outnumbered and through sheer force of will, saw his bloodlust with my own eyes. That man will never surrender his position here. He will never allow himself to be defeated by you, or I. Not because we bribed him, not because Eleanor Guthrie told him so. He simply will not allow it to happen. I don’t know where that man went or what designs drew him there. But this I know: Woodes Rogers will be returning. And this fight isn’t nearly over."
- ―Rackham on Rogers, XXXIII.
- "I betrayed you Jack...tried to trade your life for my own personal gain, lied to Ann to her face about it...please, Jack...I beg of you, is there any way you can forgive me? That’s was the general sense of what I thought I might hear, coming from your mouth, were I ever this close to you again."
- ―Rackham to Max, XXXIV.
- "Because what's it all for if it goes unremembered? It's the art that leaves the mark. But to leave it, it must transcend. It must speak for itself. It must be true."
- ―Rackham, XXXVIII.