Black Caesar was an African chief known for his strength and intelligence. After being tricked aboard a slave ship in Africa, he escaped during a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. In just a longboat, he and a friend stole supplies and treasures from passing ships and hoarded the loot on Florida's Elliot Key. After killing his friend in a duel over a woman, Black Caesar continued pirating on his own. He captured larger boats, which he hid by tying them up to Caesars Rock and sinking them. He was said to have a harem of over 100 women and a prison camp on Elliot Key.

Eventually, Black Caesar joined forces with the notorious Blackbeard. They were together in 1718 when Blackbeard's ship was attacked. To avoid capture, Black Caesar lay down a trail of gunpowder leading to the explosives. He was caught just before igniting the gunpowder and hanged in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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Mary Read was a seaman on a ship that was captured by pirates and she turned then to a life of piracy.

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Did you know?

  • The Jolly Roger was a black flag flown to identify the vessel as a pirate ship. While the skull and crossbones is the most common of these flags, many great pirate captains designed custom symbols to identify exactly who is attacking.

  • "Shiver me timbers" is an expression of excitement or awe. Its origin has to do with sailing in heavy seas, when the ship is lifted up and pounded down so hard that the timbers are said to shiver.

  • Although pirates have been around since the Romans and Vikings, most pirating happened during the Golden Age of Piracy between 1680 and 1730.

  • Pirates believed that whistling on a ship would cause the weather to turn stormy. Consider the phrase 'to whistle up a storm.'


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