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Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean

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  • Abraham Cohen Henriques (deceased)
    According to: Moses' brother is Abraham Cohen Henriques, an arms dealer who used his cunning and economic muscle to find safe havens for Jews.Also see
  • Historical Marker By Mark Hilton, June 28, 2017
    Captain Pierre Paul Bouet Lafitte (1746 - 1815)
    Biography== Captain Pierre Bouet Lafitte was born in 1770 in Port au Prince, Haiti. He was a privateer, smuggler, blacksmith, spy. Pierre married Françoise Sel l'Etang . Together they had the following...
  • Jean Lafitte (c.1780 - c.1823)
    The Pirates Laffite, William C. Davis. Sephardic pirate played a pivotal role in American history. In the book "Jews on the Frontier" (Rachelle Simon, 1991), Rabbi I. Harold Sharfman recounts the tale ...
  • Moses Cohen Henriques (c.1595 - d.)
    Cohen Henriques Eanes was a Jewish Sephardic pirate, operating in the Caribbean.Henriques Eanes helped Dutch naval officer and folk hero Admiral Piet Pieterszoon Hein, of the Dutch West India Company, ...


But a little known fact is that, aside from notorious pirates such as Captain Hook, Jack Sparrow and Long John Silver, many of the original ones to walk the plank were actually Jewish. In a fascinating new book entitled Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, Ed Kritzler delves into a sensational area of Jewish history which will no doubt delight pirate fans and non-fans alike.

Kritzler, who majored in Latin American History and has been researching Jewish pirates for more than four decades, grew up in Long Island but now resides in Jamaica. Speaking to the Jewish News from his home on the island, he explained why he finds buccaneers quite so riveting: When I was growing up, my heroes were cowboys and explorers but I never knew about Jewish ones. Working as a journalist on USA Today (then the Herald Statesman) took me on a business trip to Jamaica. I loved the place and spent my time there travelling the island and making discoveries. And forty swashbuckling years later, Kritzler has finally put pen to paper and recorded his findings in a book. (See Source).

Notable Pirates

  • Moses Cohen Henriques- Pirate, escapee from Spanish Inquisition, and Kritzler said was motivated by revenge for the Inquisition. Jews were the first permanent settlers of Jamaica. Learning about the secret Jews of the New World stimulated my thirst for the topic, and I made some startling findings, Ed Kritzler enthused. One of the most famous Jewish pirates, Moses Cohen Henriques, captured the Spanish silver fleet, worth about $1bn in today's money. He then went on to lead the Jewish contingent in Brazil and established his own pirate island. After the recapture of Brazil in 1654, Moses ended up as an advisor to Henry Morgan, the leading pirate of the time. (See also Source).
  • Samuel Pallache or Palache, took up piracy in part to help make a better life for expelled Spanish Jews. A fellow seafarer, who grew up in Morocco but ended up in Amsterdam in 1610. He proposed that the Prince of Orange and the Sultan of Morocco get together. This resulted in Jews being allowed to settle in Amsterdam. In 1614, he went on an expedition, captured a couple of Spanish ships, got to Plymouth, and was subsequently arrested for piracy. (See also Source).