Black Sails: How Charles Vane Died In Real Life


Summary Charles Vane’s death in Black Sails season 3 was a significant event that sparked a revolution in the series.
While Black Sails dramatizes events, the real Charles Vane was also hanged.
Charles Vane’s death influenced the stereotype of pirates.
Starz’s Black Sails features several characters based on real-life pirates and their untimely deaths, including Captain Charles Vane, played by Zach McGowan. The historical adventure series, created by Jonathan E. Steinberg and Robert Levine, is meant to serve as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 book, Treasure Island, and chronicles the lives of pirates on New Providence Island in the Golden Age of Piracy in the early 18th century. Steinberg and Levine’s show ran for four seasons before it came to an end, seeing as Black Sails’ timeline had caught up to the events of Treasure Island.
Black Sails is available to stream on Netflix.
While the cast of Black Sails is large, McGowan’s portrayal of Captain Charles Vane was undoubtedly one of the more important roles in the show (seeing as the pirate was quite prominent during the early 1700s). Aside from McGowan, other cast members who played real-life pirates in the Starz series include Toby Schmitz as Jack Rackham, Clara Paget as Anne Bonny, and Ray Stevenson as Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard). Sadly, Captain Vane’s fate in Black Sails mirrored what happened to the pirate hundreds of years ago.
Charles Vane’s Death In Black Sails
Charles Vane Died In Season 3
Zach McGowan as Charles Vane was introduced in Black Sails season 1 as the Captain of the pirate ship Ranger and the enemy of Toby Stephens’ Captain Flint. However, as the show went on, the two pirates became friends and allies. Unfortunately, their friendship was short-lived as Captain Vane died in the penultimate episode of season 3, “XXVII.”
Following the real-life Charles Vane’s execution, his dead body was hung in a cage on Gun Cay as a warning to others about what happens when one participates in piracy.
Captain Vane essentially sacrificed himself to save Captain Flint and Black Sails’ real-life pirates Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny in Nassau when they were ambushed by a group of men led by Governor Woodes Rogers. McGowan’s character was overpowered and arrested on the grounds of piracy. Even though Billy Bones and the others tried to rally support for Captain Vane to receive a fair trial, his execution was fast-tracked. Captain Vane was led to the gallows in the center of Nassau, where a crowd awaited his hanging.
Captain Vane’s pirate comrades were there to attempt a last-minute rescue. But when Captain Vane made eye contact with Billy, he silently ordered him to stand down and allow the execution to proceed. He knew his death would be the spark that lit the fuse to a rebellion against the Governor, especially with his final words. Before he was hanged in Black Sails season 3, episode 9, Captain Vane told the large crowd who had come to witness his death:
“These men, who brought me here today, do not fear me. They brought me here today because they fear you and because they know that my voice, the voice that refuses to be enslaved, once lived in you. And may yet still. They brought me here today to show you death and use it to frighten you into ignoring that voice. But know this. We are many. They are a few. To fear death is a choice. And they can’t hang us all.”
How Charles Vane Died In Real Life
The Real Pirate Was Also Hanged
Of course, Black Sails dramatizes the true story of all its characters for the sake of creating a complete and comprehensive narrative for television. But its interpretation of Captain Charles Vane’s death near the end of season 3 was semi-accurate. The real Charles Vane was arrested and publically executed, but the circumstances and various details surrounding his hanging were quite different from Zach McGowan’s Charles Vane in Black Sails.
[Charles Vane] was found guilty of piracy in March 1720 and finally hanged one year later, in 1721.
While traveling to the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras in early 1719 (after a mutiny that removed his captaincy), Vane was caught in a hurricane and shipwrecked on a deserted island. Other ships later arrived on the island, and even though Vane attempted to sneak onboard under a false name, an old acquaintance recognized him and brought Vane to the authorities in Port Royal, Jamaica, who arrested him. Vane was thrown in prison, where he awaited trial for almost two years. He was found guilty of piracy in March 1720 and finally hanged one year later, in 1721.
Related 10 Reasons Black Sails Is Better Than Pirates Of The Caribbean Despite Pirates of the Caribbean having bigger mainstream success, Black Sails offers a more historically accurate story with more complex characters.
The Impact Of Charles Vane’s Death On Real Life Piracy
Charles Vane’s Hanging Was A Significant Event
Although the circumstances surrounding Charles Vane’s death in Black Sails greatly differed from the pirate’s execution in real life, both are considered significant events — in the Starz show’s season 3 story and the history of piracy, respectively. While Vane’s hanging sparked a revolution in the historical adventure series, the real-life Vane’s death impacted the way the public interprets the mythology of pirates. Vane’s story has been told numerous times in books, films, and shows (like Black Sails), influencing the romanticism and stereotypical image of pirates.
Black Sails Cast Character Toby Stephens Captain James Flint Hannah New Eleanor Guthrie Luke Arnold “Long” John Silver Jessica Parker Kennedy Max Tom Hopper Billy Bones Zach McGowan Charles Vane Toby Schmitz Jack Rackham Clara Paget Anne Bonny Mark Ryan Hal Gates Hakeem Kae-Kazim Mr. Scott Sean Cameron Michael Richard Guthrie Louise Barnes Miranda Barlow


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