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Black Caesar (died 1718) was an 18th-century African pirate. For nearly a decade, he raided shipping from the Florida Keys and later served as one of Captain Blackbeard's crewmen aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. He was one of the surviving members of Blackbeard's crew following his death at the hands of Lieutenant Robert Maynard in 1718. Caesar's Rock, one of three islands located north of Key Largo, is named in his honor, and is the present-day site of his original headquarters. However, according to work done by author Kevin Duffus, it appears most of Blackbeard's African 'crew members' were indeed slaves themselves.
Black Caesar, according to traditional accounts, was a prominent African tribal war chieftain. Widely known for his "huge size, immense strength, and keen intelligence", he evaded capture from many different slave traders. Caesar was finally captured when he and twenty of his warriors were lured onto a ship by a slave trader. Showing him a watch, the trader promised to show him and his warriors more objects which were "too heavy and too numerous to bring on shore" if they came aboard his ship. He enticed them to stay with food, musical instruments, silk scarves and jewels, however he had his men raise anchor and slowly sail away. When Caesar discovered what was happening, he and his men attempted to charge their captors but were driven back by the well-armed sailors using swords and pistols. Although it took a considerable length of time for him and his warriors to accept their captivity, he was eventually befriended by a sailor who was the only man Black Caesar would accept food and water from.
As they neared the coast of Florida, the sudden appearance of a hurricane threatened to destroy the ship on the Florida Reefs. Recognizing the ship's imminent destruction, the sailor snuck below decks and freed Caesar. The two then forced the captain and crew into a corner, most likely at gunpoint, and boarded one of the longboats with ammunition and other supplies. The wind and waves pushed them to shore where they waited out the storm, apparently the only survivors of the doomed ship.
They soon began using the lifeboat to lure passing ships which stopped to give assistance. While posing as shipwrecked sailors, they would sail out to the vessel offering to take them aboard. Once they were close to the vessel, they brought out their guns and demanded supplies and ammunition, threatening to sink the ship if they were refused. He and the sailor continued this ploy for a number of years and amassed a sizable amount of treasure which was buried on Elliott Key. However, he and the sailor had a falling out over a young woman the mate had brought back from one of the ships they had looted. Fighting over her, Caesar killed his longtime friend in a duel and took the woman for his own.
He began taking on more pirates over time and soon was able to attack ships on the open sea. He and his crew were often able to avoid capture by running into Caesar Creek and other inlets between Elliot and Old Rhodes Key and onto the mangrove islands. Using a metal ring embedded in a rock, they ran a strong rope through the ring, heel the boat over, and hide their boat in the water until the patrol ship or some other danger went away. They might also lower the mast and sink the ship in shallow water, later cutting the rope or pumping out the water to raise the boat and continue raiding. It is thought that he and his men buried 26 bars of silver on the island, although no treasure has ever been recovered from the island.
He apparently had a harem on his island, having at least 100 women seized from passing ships, as well as a prison camp which he kept prisoners in stone huts hoping to ransom them. When leaving the island to go on raids, he left no provisions for these prisoners and many eventually starved to death. A few children reportedly escaped captivity, subsisting on berries and shellfish, and formed their own language and customs. This society of lost children give rise to native superstition that the island is haunted.
Henri Caesar, also known as Black Caesar, (fl. 1791-1830) was allegedly a 19th-century Haitian revolutionary and pirate. Efforts to find historical evidence of his existence have been unsuccessful. According to works of fiction, he was a participant in the Haitian Revolution under Dutty Boukman and Toussaint Louverture as well as active in piracy for nearly a 30-year period during the early 19th century.
Adopting the name Black Caesar, he was very successful during his piratical career before his disappearance in 1830. Although his fate is unrecorded, he most likely fled the area after President Andrew Jackson ordered an expedition against pirates active on the Florida coast after its purchase by the United States in 1828. There is one story of his capture in west Florida and, taken to Key West, was tied to a tree and burned to death. The widow of a preacher, whose eyes had been burned out under torture from Black Caesar, had been used to light the fire.
He is supposed to have buried between $2 and $6 million at several locations 8 throughout the Caribbean including Pine Island, White Horse Key, Marco Island, Elliot Key and Sanibel Island, although none has ever been recovered. He is said to have been associated with another pirate, Jose Gaspar or Gasparilla, however his existence is doubted among historians
‘Three-fingered Jack’ was the popular name of a man who escaped Jamaican slavery some time before 1780, became a leader of a group of maroons, and was captured and killed. His story can be traced in the Jamaican Royal Gazette. It was introduced to the British public through a section of a book by Dr Benjamin Moseley, A Treatise on Sugar, published in 1799, which describes Jack’s use of ‘obi’ to maintain his power. Moseley’s account of Three-Fingered Jack inspired the very successful stage pantomime Obi, or Three Finger’d Jack, which first played at the London Haymarket Theatre in 1800. Two novels based on the story were published that same year, and the story was then told and retold through further pantomimes, theatrical productions, chap books, juvenile literature, novels and other cultural productions. Jack’s use of obeah formed a significant element in most of these retellings.
During the ‘ Golden Age of Piracy' Some estimate that nearly 5,000 pirates hunted prey between 1715 and 1726. Of that number, about twenty-five to thirty percent came from the cimarrons, black slaves who ran from their Spanish masters. Other blacks joined after pirates attacked slave ships. For example, when Sam Bellamy and his fellow pirates seized a “Guinea Ship,” twenty-five blacks went on the account. Stede Bonnet’s crew also included former slaves and freemen, and of the eighty sea rovers who followed John Lewis were numbered at least forty blacks from English colonies. Francis Sprigg’s cook was black and entrusted with dividing the spoils equally for the crew.
Not all black pirates were known by name. For example, thirty men escaped enslavement on Saint Thomas and went on the account in August 1699. A mulatto amongst Stede Bonnet’s crew had a confrontation with a white sailor who refused to sign the articles of agreement. After cursing the man, the black pirate wondered “why I did not go to the pump and work among the rest, and told me that was my Business and that I should be used as a Negroe.” (Kinkor, 199) Captain Bonnet overheard the exchange and concurred with the pirate – a man was either a sea rover or a slave, regardless of his color or status.
In his article “Black Men under the Black Flag,” maritime historian Ken Kinkor includes a chart listing various pirate captains and how many blacks were members of their crews. It can be said that the crews of some of the most successful pirates, including Samuel Bellamy and Blackbeard, were largely made up of ex-slaves.
Samuel Bellamy (1717) – more than 27 out of 180 men
Edward England (1718) – less than 50 out of 180 men
Edward Lowther (1724) – 9 out of 23 men
Blackbeard (1717) – 60 out of 100; (1718) – 5 out 14
Oliver La Bouche (1719) – 32 out of 64 men
These five pirate crews are but a small sampling of those listed, and they indicate these men were active members of the crew. Sometimes, they were the most fearsome and most trusted of the pirates, the men who boarded prizes first. They did not, however, always receive the same punishment as other pirates when captured. Whereas their comrades often went to the gallows, black pirates were often returned to the men who owned them, or they were sold into slavery. This was the fate of John Julian, a Miskito Indian, after he survived the wrecking of The Whydah Galley. Rather than try him for piracy, he became the property of John Quincy of Braintree.
Jacquotte Delahaye reportedly came from Saint-Domingue in present day Haiti, and was the daughter of a French father and a Haitian mother. Her mother is said to have died in childbirth. Her brother suffered from mild retardation, and was left in her care after her father's death.
According to legend and tradition, she became a pirate after the murder of her father. Jacquotte Delahaye is the subject of many legendary stories. To escape her pursuers, she faked her own death and took on a male alias, living as a man for many years. Upon her return, she became known as "back from the dead red" because of her striking red hair.
She led a gang of hundreds of pirates, and with their help took over a small Caribbean island in the year of 1656, which was called a "freeboter republic".  Several years later, she died in a shootout while defending it.