Ahoy vey! Hoist the black flag with Maccabee Apparel’s Pirate Collection!
Did you know that some of history’s most successful pirates and privateers were members of the tribe? *
Dutch-Jewish privateer and pirate Abraham Blauvelt was also an intrepid explorer, traveling Central America in the 1630s. The Bluefield River and neighboring town of Bluefields, Nicaragua, are named for him.
Sinan Reis, a Sephardic Jewish refugee from Spain, became a 16th century Barbary pirate and renowned naval commander. In what might be considered payback for the horrors of the Inquisition, Reis helped secure several key victories while sailing under the Ottoman flag. The Spaniards called him “The Great Jew.”
Renowned 18th century French swashbuckler Jean Lafitte made his career attacking Spanish holdings in the New World, because his grandparents were Jews who had been tortured by the Spanish Inquisition. (We think we’re starting to see a pattern here.) During the War of 1812, Lafitte alerted the United States of England’s invasion plans, and he and his crew defended New Orleans, reportedly fighting with great distinction, in exchange for a legal pardon from then-General Andrew Jackson for his, uh, other activities.
These were fearsome individuals—men not to be crossed.
The Jewish pirates of Jamaica often gave their ships biblical names, like The Queen Esther and The Shield of Abraham. To this day, you can find gravestones in the Jewish cemetery in Kingston bearing both Hebrew inscriptions, and the skull and crossbones.
In modern times, members of the tribe are instead found combatting piracy, with Israeli security firms like Mano International Security protecting ships and their crews from Somali pirates and other maritime threats.
*It should go without saying, but: Maccabee Apparel does not endorse piracy, terrorism, or any other form of criminal activity. We’re just fascinated by history, and enjoy sharing badass designs.