Stede Bonnet was probably the most unlikely person to end up as a pirate. Bonnet was the son of an affluent sugar planter in Barbados. His parents died when he was very young and he inherited the family estate, including the numerous slaves living on the plantation. Bonnet's liberal education did not make him an obvious candidate for a career as a pirate.

However, later on in life he left his wife and decided to take up piracy. He knew absolutely nothing about ships and seafaring, and ordered a fine vessel to be built, which he named the Revenge, and then set out to find a pirate crew.