Lots of Pirates were Ex-Slaves

When this famous pirate was captured by the Royal Navy in 1718, five of his eighteen man crew were black and according to the Governor’s Council of Virginia the five blacks were “equally concerned with the rest of the Crew in the same Acts of Piracy.”

Q. Can you name this famous captain that recruited Black Pirates?

A Few Pirate Facts You Won’t See On TV!

  • A large number of pirates were ex-slaves; most of these black pirates would have been runaway slaves, either joining with the pirates on the course of the voyage from Africa, deserting from the plantation, or sent as slaves to work on board ship.
  • Black pirates would often lead the boarding party to capture a prize.
  • In the 17th century blacks found on pirate ships were not tried with the other pirates because it was assumed they were slaves, but by the 18th century they were being executed alongside their white ‘brethren’.

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