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Black Caesar

(Quartermaster to Blackbeard)

Caesar's exact origins are unclear. We know he was a Negro. He may have been pulled from a slave ship coming from Africa, an escaped Spanish slave (Marooner) or an escaped slave form one of Britain's American colonies. It is most likely he was a marooner because of his position as quartermaster on Blackbeard's ship. African slaves were often treated in one of three ways by pirates. They were either resold into slavery or if they were runaway they may be turned in for the reward. They were used as slaves on board the ship doing menial work, or in some instances were part of the pirate crew. When part of the pirate crew they may or may not be given the same shares as the rest of the crew. Despite some of the current movies and the romantic notion of democracy on pirate ships, the reality is many pirates saw Negroes as a commodity or as less useful than "white" sailors.The main exception were marooners who had already proven themselves in fights with the Spaniards.

Regardless of origin (African, runaway, marooner), once a Negro had proven himself in battle then there was a bigger chance of being accepted as an equal among the crew. This was the case of Blackbeard's Quartermaster, Caesar. Not only was Caesar a member of Blackbeard's crew, he was one of the few men on board the Queen Anne's Revenge that Blackbeard truly trusted.

Blackbeard had made it clear that he would never be hanged. He had given Caesar standing orders that in the event his ship was about to be captured Caesar last job was to blow up the ship, assuring all aboard would be killed. Such was the case when the Queen Anne's Revenge ship ran across the British man-o-war commanded by Lt. Maynard. Caesar had been given instructions to drop a lighted match into the ship's magazine and blow the ship up, rather than allow the crew to be hanged. Caesar attempted to do so, upon Blackbeard's death, but was prevented from fulfilling his duty by two of his fellow pirates who turned coward. Caesar and the others would eventually be hanged like dogs instead of going out in a blaze of suicidal glory.

Profile picture for user Tobias Gibson

The only author and editor of all pages on the site. Most of what I write about is based on years of book reading on the topic. My first web page was published back in 1994.

Updated: 04 September 2022