What are some facts about John Paul Jones' life?


Quick Answer

John Paul Jones was a naval hero who served on the side of the colonies during the American Revolution. His historical notoriety is based on his defeat of the Serapis, a British ship, off the Yorkshire Coast in August of 1779. When his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, physically collided with the Serapis, the British Captain asked if he was ready to surrender, to which he famously replied, "I have not yet begun to fight."

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Full Answer

John Paul Jones was born in 1742 in Scotland. His sailing career began at the young age of 13. At age 21, Jones was promoted to captain of a ship that sailed between England and the West Indies. In 1773, Jones fled to the American colonies to avoid a civil court trial in England for his involvement in a violent mutiny aboard a ship.

Jones' Revolutionary War experience included serving as first lieutenant on the Alfred and as captain on the Providence. In 1778, he sailed to the British Coast on the Ranger. In August 1779, he took command of five naval vessels and two privateers, including the Bonhomme Richard. His subsequent victory on that ship secured his fame.

Jones served in the Russian Army after the Revolutionary War and later died in Paris in 1792.

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