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Israel Hands

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Title: Israel Hands  
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Subject: Treasure Island (1950 film), Long John Silver (film), Treasure Island (1990 film), British pirates, Treasure Island
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Israel Hands

One More Step, Mr. Hands by N.C. Wyeth, 1911, for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Israel Hands was an 18th-century pirate, also known as Basilica Hands.[1] He is best known for being second in command to Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. Hands' first historical mention was in 1718, when Blackbeard gave him command of David Herriot's ship Adventure after Herriot was captured by Teach in March 1718.[2]

Robert Maynard.[2] Teach was killed by Maynard, and Hands was captured and taken to Virginia for trial. In exchange for a pardon, Hands testified against corrupt North Carolina officials with whom Teach had consorted. What happened to Hands after this is not known for certain; however, in Captain Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates, Hands is said to have died a beggar in London.[2]


  • Popular culture 1
  • Film portrayals 2
    • Treasure Island 2.1
    • Historical Figure 2.2
  • References 3

Popular culture

One of Long John Silver's pirates is named Israel Hands in the book Treasure Island and films based on it, though the pirate is described as the late Captain Flint's gunner and no mention is made of Blackbeard. Hands is featured in a prolonged battle with Jim Hawkins before being shot by the boy.

Film portrayals

Treasure Island

Historical Figure

  • Mark Noble in the 2006 documentary Blackbeard: Terror at Sea, which starred James Purefoy as Blackbeard. Hands serves as the narrator.
  • Anthony Green in the 2006 television movie Blackbeard which starred Angus Macfadyen in the title role. In this version, Hands dies during the battle against Lt. Robert Maynard, portrayed by Mark Umbers.


  1. ^ Philip Gosse (1924). The Pirates' Who's Who: Giving Particulars of the Lives & Deaths of the Pirates & Buccaneers. Burt Franklin. p. 153. 
  2. ^ a b c  
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