Bonnet was an 18th-century educated landowner in Barbados, who decided one day that he wanted to become a pirate. Scandalizing his neighbors, he commissioned his pirate ship, which he named the Revenge, and set sail in 1717. This was the only commissioned pirate ship in all of history; up until this point, every pirate ship had been stolen or seized by mutiny (disregarding the privateers).
Bonnet plundered the seas off the coast of the American colonies and for a brief time sailed with the infamous Blackbeard, who took a liking to him. After a few more adventures, Bonnet was eventually captured and sentenced to death. He was hanged in December 1718.
What I find most amazing about Bonnet is how he decided to become a pirate. As much as we romanticize pirates on a day like today, most of know that the pirate's life can be a cruel, harsh one. But Bonnet loved the idea of becoming a pirate, and ventured forth to live his dream.
Wikipedia: Stede Bonnet
Pirates! Stede Bonnet
Excerpt from William Goldman's Which Lie Did I Tell?, in which he talks about the unfilmed screenplay he wrote about Bonnet, The Sea Kings