Robert Sample (died 1719), was a pirate active off the coast of Africa and in the Caribbean during the early 18th century.
In early 1719 the Irish pirate Edward England, aboard his ship the Royal James, was looting ships off the west coast of Africa. Some he plundered and released, others he burned, and two he refitted for piracy. One of the latter, the 6-gun, 14-man Elizabeth and Katherine, was captured on 27 June, and four of the ship’s crew joined England’s pirates. England refitted the vessel and renamed it Flying King, appointing Richard Sample as captain.
Sample sailed with Robert Lane, who captained England’s other refitted vessel, the Mercury. They looted several ships in the Caribbean then stopped to careenMethod of exposing the hull of a ship for cleaning or repair by laying it on its side. their vessels. In November they sailed to Brazil “and did a great deal of mischief” among Portuguese shipping, until the intervention of a Portuguese man-of-war. Lane managed to get away, but unable to evade the powerful warship Sample attempted to escape by beaching the Flying King. Of the ship’s crew of seventy, twelve were killed and the rest captured by the Portuguese, who hanged thirty-eight of them, almost all them English.