The William May was a buccaneer prior to becoming a privateer during the Nine Years' War (1688- 1697).
May was hunting with William
Kidd on Kidd's ship the
Blessed William in 1689. In 1690, the crew stole the ship from
May became captain. May went to New York where he attacked French
the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. One of the prizes May renamed the
keeping her as his flagship.
In December 1690, May went to Madagascar then hunted off
western India. In July 1693, May was commissioned to raid French
stations in West Africa. May commanded the 16 gun ship the Pearl.
of fulfilling his commission, May raided shipping in the Red Sea
Persian Gulf. In June 1695, May joined Henry Avery.
May shared in the rich
prize the Gunsway. He plundered at least 3 ships off India's
coast in 1696. He then returned to New York with £ 200,000, his
being £ 7,000. January 1699, May was found back at Saint Mary's
near Madagascar. May got wind that British pirate hunters were
him at Madagascar. May put out to sea where he was quite
reputedly arrived at New York with £ 300,000.