Pirates , Slaves, and Slavery...

5fish

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Here a odd topic...


Based on a wide range of primary sources, this article investigates the relationship of pirates with free and enslaved Africans as well as the impact of piracy on the slave trade. In 1719, the peak year of pirate depredations, as many as 30 per cent of the vessels that arrived on the west coast of Africa fell victim to pirate attacks. To pirates, slaves were worthless cargo, and they treated captured Africans accordingly. Contacts with free Africans were restricted to trading relationships, which sometimes led to violent excesses. Many black people were mistreated or killed by pirates.

Here is this...


During the ”golden age” of piracy in the late 1600s and early 1700s, a pirate ship was one of the few places a black man could attain power and money in the Western Hemisphere. Some of these black pirates were fugitive slaves in the Caribbean or other coastal areas of the Americas. Others joined pirate crews when their slave ships or plantations were raided; it was often an easy choice between perpetual slavery and freedom through lawlessness. It is estimated that up to one-third of the 10,000 pirates during the golden age of piracy were former slaves.

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While many were still mistreated and forced to do the lowest tasks aboard ship, some captains established revolutionary equality among their men, regardless of race. On these ships, black pirates could vote, bear arms, and receive an equal share of the booty. Back on the mainland, however, justice for black and white pirates was not equal. White pirates were usually hanged, but black pirates were often returned to their owners or otherwise resold into slavery—a fate worse than death for some.

Here is a pirate captain...


Black Caesar (died 1718) was a legendary 18th-century African pirate. The legends say that for nearly a decade, he raided shipping from the Florida Keys and later served as one of Captain Blackbeard's, a.k.a. Edward Teach'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,[1] and is the present-day site of his original headquarters.

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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 gave rise to native superstition that the island is haunted.

snip...

During the early 18th century, Caesar left Biscayne Bay to join Blackbeard in raiding American shipping in the Mid-Atlantic serving as a lieutenant on his flagship Queen Anne's Revenge.[3] In 1718, after Blackbeard's death battling with Lieutenant Robert Maynard at Ocracoke Island, he attempted to set off the powder magazine as per Blackbeard's instructions. However, Caesar was stopped by one of the captives who tackled him as he prepared to light a trail of gunpowder leading to the magazine. He struggled with the man below decks until several of Maynard's sailors were able to restrain him. Taken prisoner by Virginian colonial authorities, he was convicted of piracy and hanged in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Here mini bio:


One of the most famous black pirates was Black Caesar, who raided ships in the Florida Keys for almost a decade before joining Blackbeard aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. Like many pirates, his life is shrouded in legend, but he was apparently a very large and very cunning man. Many accounts state that he was an African chieftain who had evaded capture by slavers several times before succumbing to a cruel deception. Aboard the slave ship, he was befriended by a sailor who gave him food and water. As they neared the Florida coast, a hurricane provided the confusion the two needed for an armed escape on a rowboat, and they were evidently the only survivors of the storm. For several years thereafter, the pair amassed a considerable fortune by posing as shipwrecked sailors and violently robbing vessels that offered them assistance. They allegedly buried their bounty on Elliott Key. Black Caesar was eventually able to hire on more crew and began attacking ships on the open sea. It is said that he kept a prison camp and possibly a harem of kidnapped women in the Keys but often failed to leave his captives with provisions during his voyages, and many starved to death. In the early 1700s he joined Blackbeard's crew as his lieutenant and was there for Blackbeard's death at the hands of Lieutenant Robert Maynard. Following this defeat, Black Caesar was captured with the surviving crew by Virginia colonial authorities and was hanged in Williamsburg in 1718.

snip...

In Blackbeard’s crew, which included the fearless Black Caesar, thirteen of the surviving members were arrested after Blackbeard’s death and brought to Virginia for their trial. Five of these thirteen were black, and they were put on trial with the rest of Blackbeard’s crew and executed in 1719.
 
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5fish

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Some owned slaves...

Captain Morgan is now a famous brand, part of today’s pop culture one might say. But back in the seventeenth century he was a slave trader and plantation owner. He was hired as a pirate by the English crown and in 1678 King Charles II knighted him. That is how he built his fortune. At some point he owned more than one hundred enslaved Africans in his Jamaican plantation. His wealth and status was backed by his political power. Captain Morgan became lieutenant governor and a prominent figure in Jamaican politics and society.

Here we go: This article has much on the topic of slaves and pirates....


Even though most pirate ships had black pirates in the crew, many pirates engaged in the slave trade. Not only did they buy, steal, and trade slaves, these slaves were of every nationality: some were even white Europeans. While Europeans were raiding the coasts of Africa and buying slaves who were prisoners of war from African chieftains, the Berber pirates of North Africa were attacking merchant ships, taking the crew members into slavery to major cities like Algiers and Tunis.

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By the 1720s, there were almost ten warships in the Caribbean whose only job was to catch pirate ships and arrest the pirates on board. In 1724, merchants who often traded with Jamaica wrote a letter to the Council of Trade and Plantations in London about the pirate activity and how it created “havoc and destruction of the ships employed in the negro trade on which the being of our Colonies chiefly depends.

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A common misconception about pirates is that they were all white Europeans or men of European descent. Runaway slaves found that joining a pirate crew was the best way to truly escape their bondage. Many either ran away from plantations or joined maroon communities of escaped slaves, eventually traveling to port cities to find a pirate crew to join. It is estimated that 25-30% of the former slaves who were serving on pirate ships between 1715 and 1726 were runaway slaves owned by the Spanish, called cimarrons. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, black sailors were common knowledge, so much so that runaway slaves would disguise themselves as sailors to escape the American South. In the 1830s, Frederick Douglass wore sailor’s clothes and held papers that were given to him by a sailor to escape slavery in the South.

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Despite the freedom that black pirates found on the sea, they were treated differently if the authorities caught them. They had every reason to stay with pirate crews: captured black pirates were not usually hanged for their crimes. If they were escaped slaves, they were either returned to their masters. If they were free men, they were sold into slavery. Samuel Bellamy’s pilot on the Whydah, John Julian, quickly became one of the most esteemed members of Bellamy’s crew. After the pirate vessel sank, Julian was taken into custody and sold into slavery to John Quincy, John Quincy Adam’s grandfather.

snip...

Many black pirates rose to prominent status aboard their ships. Many of these high-ranking black pirates’ names have been lost to history, but we still know of a few of them. There was another famous black pirate named Black Caesar, and the two men are often confused, although they were operating decades apart. Henri Caesar, also known as Black Caesar, was a Haitian pirate that played a role in the Haitian Revolution. Like Blackbeard’s lieutenant, much of his life is a combination of fact and legend. When Toussaint L’Ouverture allowed slaveowners to leave the island in the beginnings of the revolution on Saint Domingue, Henri Caesar helped transport them off of the island.

One of the most successful pirates of the late seventeenth century was a Dutch pirate named Laurens de Graaf. He started his career as a French privateer, and the Spanish greatly feared his crew that grew to about 2,000 pirates at one time. Many accounts record that he was tall with blond hair and blue eyes, but his nickname tells another story. He was known as El Griffe, which was a common name given to men and women who had both European and African ancestry, which indicates he may have been a mulatto. After being enslaved by the Spanish in his early life, he spent the rest of his life being a thorn in their side. He attacked Spanish ships and settlements, and the Spanish frequently referred to him as the Devil.


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Some of the most famous pirate ships were formerly slave ships that were stolen from slave traders. In 1984, the wreckage of Samuel Bellamy’s Whydah, a former slave ship, was discovered near Cape Cod, making it the first documented pirate ship ever discovered. Historians found African Akan jewelry that was split and broken apart into equal pieces, indicating that it was to be fairly divided among the crew. Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge was initially the slave vessel La Concorde. When the wreckage of Queen Anne’s Revenge was discovered in 1996, shackles and beads and gold dust that slavers commonly used for trade as well as restraints used to confine slaves were found on board.
 

5fish

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Here is a sobering video about pirates and slavery for they profited form it as well... A video explores slaves and pirates... Slaves were on pirate ships to do work the pirates did not want to go...

 

5fish

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Here is a good little article talking about pirates and what motivated them. It was not always money some were in social revolt against the social order of that period and some wanted to put Stuarts back on the English throne. On another note, some pirate ships had majority black crews and some had Native Americans...


A remarkable number of pirates were of African or native American origin, according to accounts of captives and pirates brought to trial. The pirate vessels were among the few places in European America where they could be free. There were more than 30 Africans in Bellamy's crew, and as many as 60 in Blackbeard's, which would have made them the majority. These crewmen – all probably born in the Americas – appear to have been treated as equals. (Not so those Africans found in the holds of inbound slave vessels, who the pirates appear to have generally regarded as cargo, rather than potential recruits.)
 

5fish

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@diane, Native Americans are sea raiders attacking fishing boats...


Pirate assaults on fishing vessels and slow-moving commercial using fast attack boat attacks, demands for ransom, widespread economic disruption, and failure by well-organized forces to stop the deprivations. The pirates are local natives whose motive is profit - capturing ships and holding them and their crews for ransom. The maritime marauders were members of the
Pirate assaults on fishing vessels and slow-moving commercial using fast attack boat attacks, demands for ransom, widespread economic disruption, and failure by well-organized forces to stop the deprivations. The pirates are local natives whose motive is profit - capturing ships and holding them and their crews for ransom. The maritime marauders were members of the Abenaki, the Micmac, and Beothuk tribes. For more than two years in the 1720s these tribes outwitted and outfought the Colonists.
the Micmac and Beothuk tribes. For more than two years in the 1720s these tribes out witted and out fought the Colonists.

Those Native American New England Sea raiders...

The Wabanaki as Mariners

Although the marine abilities of southern New England Indians have been well established (Little 1981), the Micmac are their only northern Wabanaki neighbours who have been recognized as mariners (Martijn 1986). The primary concern of this paper is the Maine and New Brunswick Wabanaki.

The birch canoe has been considered a fairly recent innovation. . . . Lescarbot when on the New England coast in 1607, investigated the whsubject, and we know both from him and Champlain, that, while bark canoes were made in Massachusetts and Maine, the preliminary type was that of the log canoe. In 1524, it is probable that the birch canoe was not known at all, as it was difficult to make before the introduction of iron tools by Europeans, and was confined to northern parts, where the trees were generally small and scarce, which rendered canoes of bark and skin necessary, no matter what the cost. (De Costa 1876:7) Most scholars have accepted Lescarbot's assessment without question. Lescarbot made his statement with the knowledge that Indians had adapted successfully to the Basque shallop. He had seen two manned by Indians at Canso, one of which had a moose painted on its sail (Lescarbot 1914(2):309).
 

rittmeister

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@diane, Native Americans are sea raiders attacking fishing boats...


Pirate assaults on fishing vessels and slow-moving commercial using fast attack boat attacks, demands for ransom, widespread economic disruption, and failure by well-organized forces to stop the deprivations. The pirates are local natives whose motive is profit - capturing ships and holding them and their crews for ransom. The maritime marauders were members of the
Pirate assaults on fishing vessels and slow-moving commercial using fast attack boat attacks, demands for ransom, widespread economic disruption, and failure by well-organized forces to stop the deprivations. The pirates are local natives whose motive is profit - capturing ships and holding them and their crews for ransom. The maritime marauders were members of the Abenaki, the Micmac, and Beothuk tribes. For more than two years in the 1720s these tribes outwitted and outfought the Colonists.
the Micmac and Beothuk tribes. For more than two years in the 1720s these tribes out witted and out fought the Colonists.

Those Native American New England Sea raiders...

file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/admin,+Journal+manager,+V24-25_24th+Algonquian+Conference+(1993).pdf

Although the marine abilities of southern New England Indians have been well established (Little 1981), the Micmac are their only northern Wabanaki neighbours who have been recognized as mariners (Martijn 1986). The primary concern of this paper is the Maine and New Brunswick Wabanaki.

The birch canoe has been considered a fairly recent innovation. . . . Lescarbot when on the New England coast in 1607, investigated the whsubject, and we know both from him and Champlain, that, while bark canoes were made in Massachusetts and Maine, the preliminary type was that of the log canoe. In 1524, it is probable that the birch canoe was not known at all, as it was difficult to make before the introduction of iron tools by Europeans, and was confined to northern parts, where the trees were generally small and scarce, which rendered canoes of bark and skin necessary, no matter what the cost. (De Costa 1876:7) Most scholars have accepted Lescarbot's assessment without question. Lescarbot made his statement with the knowledge that Indians had adapted successfully to the Basque shallop. He had seen two manned by Indians at Canso, one of which had a moose painted on its sail (Lescarbot 1914(2):309).
didn't they raid everyone and everything? .... and with the utmost gusto
 

diane

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Nobody thinks of Indians as pirates! The Northwest had them - the Haida were known as "Indian Vikings".
 

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Nobody thinks of Indians as pirates! The Northwest had them - the Haida were known as "Indian Vikings".
did they have the proper helmets?
 

5fish

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Nobody thinks of Indians as pirates! The Northwest had them - the Haida were known as "Indian Vikings".
The Northeast had Indian Pirates... took on the British Navy... and a book...


This was in 1724 off the coast of New Hampshire. There were two British warships traveling together, part of the mightiest naval force on earth and on a mission to sink the very schooner now disappearing over the horizon. This incident would stop that mission. Having never fired a shot, one ship was completely disabled with their captain dead. There would be embarrassing inquiries in London.

The action centers around the Wabanaki Indians, the Dawn People. Along the coast of Maine, they had been a seafaring culture centuries before the Europeans’ arrival. Their canoes plied the open ocean, bays and inlets with heavy loads of trade goods and accordingly, they were familiar with ocean wind and weather and the bounty of the sea. These Indians were already sailors without the sail.
 
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