He has been described as Florida’s most renowned black pirate who used the island of Elliott Key, and other hiding places along the Southeast Florida coast to conduct raids on unsuspected ships and villages.
Black Caesar became notable during the “golden age” of piracy, that is, in the late 1600s and early 1700s, when pirate ships were one of the few places black men could earn power and wealth.
Most of these black pirates were former slaves who had escaped from the Caribbean or other coastal areas of the Americas, according to historical accounts.
Black Caesar, an African war chieftain of huge size and immense strength had then been evading capture by slavers several times before he was tricked into boarding a ship to obtain treasure, without realizing that he was rather on board a slave ship.
It was too late when he noticed he had been tricked, but midway through the journey to the West Indies in hopes of selling the black men onboard into slavery, the ship ran into a hurricane off the Florida coast.
Black Caesar had then befriended a sailor, one of the white crew members, who freed him amid the chaos of the storm.
The two managed to escape the storm in a longboat that was said to be loaded with ammunition and other supplies.
Thus, they survived but those on board did not. For years, the two posed as shipwreck sailors who violently robbed ships that came to their rescue.
“The passing ships on the coast were lured in, and when the passing ships got close Black Caesar and the sailor would rob the merchants of all their riches and supplies. If the captain would refuse to give up his riches and supplies, then Black Caesar and the sailor would threaten the captain by sinking the ship. The two were able to continue this scheme for several years until the two had many treasures and a lot of stockpile, which was in the Florida Keys,” according to accounts by pirateshowcancun.com.
However, the two, over time clashed over a woman and Black Caesar reportedly killed his colleague.
In subsequent years, he was able to take in more pirates and started attacking ships on the open sea.
Many accounts state that he amassed a fortune and even kept a prison camp and a harem of about 100 kidnapped women in the Keys.
Many of his captives reportedly starved to death since he was leaving them without provisions during his voyages.
In the early 1700s, Black Caesar joined the crew of another well-known pirate, Blackbeard.
After Blackbeard died at the hands of Lieutenant Robert Maynard in 1718, Black Caesar and the surviving crew were captured by Virginia colonial authorities.
He was taken to Williamsburg, Va., where he was hanged for his crimes in 1718.
Black Caesar is still remembered by many as a long-lasting pirate, who survived past many of his contemporaries.