Charles Johnson

British author of a 1724 book on pirates

country of citizenship: Kingdom of Great Britain
occupation: writer, biographer

Captain Charles Johnson was the British author of the 1724 book A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates, whose identity remains a mystery. No record exists of a captain by this name, with Johnson generally considered a pseudonym for one of London's writer-publishers. This pseudonym has recently resurfaced in the RSFFL Little Show. Some scholars have suggested that "Charles Johnson" was actually Daniel Defoe writing under a pen name, but this is disputed. The prime source for the biographies of many well known pirates, Johnson gave an almost mythical status to the more colourful characters, and it is likely that the author used considerable artistic licence in his accounts of pirate conversations. First appearing in Charles Rivington's shop in London, the book sold so well that by 1726, an enlarged fourth edition had appeared. English naval historian David Cordingly writes: "it has been said, and there seems no reason to question this, that Captain Johnson created the modern conception of pirates."
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