Black Caesar was an African pirate from the early eighteenth century. There is little historical evidence linked to him, so many historians are unsure of his existence. According to legend, he was a tribal chief in Africa, and was able to avoid capture by slave traders because of his strength and intelligence.
He was lured onto a ship by a trader who offered him immense treasure. Once onboard, he was pampered with food, music, and luxurious silks, while the ship began to set sail. When Caesar finally noticed what was happening, the sailors kept him from escaping by holding him at gunpoint. Once in captivity, he slowly became friends with one sailor, who fed him all his meals. The ship was overwhelmed by a hurricane off the coast of Florida and, while the ship was sinking, the sailor helped Caesar escape. They are believed to be the only two survivors of the wreck, and they hid on one of the islands off the Florida coast.
For years, the two men made a living by posing as shipwrecked sailors on the island. When large ships would signal that they were going to rescue the men, Caesar and the sailor would paddle out in their small boat, holding the ship at gunpoint and stealing supplies and jewelry.
Eventually, trouble struck the two friends however. The sailor captured a woman during one of the raids, and Caesar wanted her for himself. They had a duel, which resulted in the death of the sailor.
Black Caesar built a business. He recruited several pirates for his crew and began a brothel on the island using women he had captured during raids. The enterprise got large enough that they were able to sail out and attack ships that were a good distance from the island. However, they could always escape using the canals and inlets all around the Florida Keys.
Caesar finally left the Keys to join Edward “Blackbeard” Teach’s crew. He was supposedly a lieutenant on Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Following Blackbeard’s death in 1718, Caesar was convicted of piracy in Williamsburg, Virginia, and he was hanged for his crimes.
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