To be precise, what was the name of Captain William Kidd's ship which he commanded in his ill-fated voyage from England to hunt pirates in the Indian Ocean?

The name is given in many modern sources but I wonder how accurate they are. Was the ship named:

the Adventure, galley.


the Adventure Galley.


The Adventure, galley.


The Adventure Galley.

I am uncertain whether the ship's type was described as "galley" or "Galley" was part of the official name.

After a few decades wondering I finally decided to ask.

  • The meaning of "name of ship" apparently meant something else than it does now. Nowadays we say "the container ship Ever Given" and don't consider "the container ship" as part of the name, but in Kidd's day "Galley" (whatever that meant) was considered part of the ships name. Is "HMS" part of the ship name "HMS Hood". or "RMS" part of the name of the Titanic? Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 17:21
  • Yes, HMS is part of the name of HMS Hood. Anyone can name their vessel Hood; but only the R. N. can name a vessel HMS Hood. Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 18:33
  • 1
    I'm not sure that capitalization was normalized at that time.
    – MCW
    Commented Aug 6, 2023 at 21:35

1 Answer 1


The 1701 court report Arraignment, Tryal and Condemnation of Captain William Kidd of Kidd's trial (cited by Kidd's Wikipedia page) calls it "the Adventure Galley" (see the "The First Indictment for MURTHER" on page 5, and the royal commissions on pp 26,27, which use "...a ship called, The Adventure Gally" and "... Commander of the ship Adventure Gally")

The 1724 General History of the Pyrates calls the ship "the Adventure Gally" (and occasionally "Galley"). That book uses italic type for (among other things) proper names, and the ship's name usually shows as "the Adventure Gally".

It's obvious that use of capitalization and italic type was different 300 years ago, as well as ship naming conventions. The word "Galley" is, I think, a descriptive add-on to help distinguish it from other ships called Adventure. (The General History mentions a different ship, the Adventure Sloop, and so on.)

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