John Julian

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For the clergyman and editor of A Dictionary of Hymnology, see John D. Julian.
John Julian
Born ca. 1701 (1701)
likely Nicaragua
Died March 26, 1733 (1733-03-27) (aged 32)
Boston, Massachusetts
Piratical career
Type Pirate
Allegiance "Black Sam" Bellamy
Years active 1716 – April 26, 1717
Rank pilot of the Whydah Gally

John Julian (c. 1701 – 26 March 1733, aged 32) was the first recorded black pirate to operate in the New World, as the pilot of the ship Whydah.

Julian was a half-blood Miskito Indian who joined Samuel Bellamy early in his brief career. He eventually piloted the Whydah, which was the leading ship of Bellamy's fleet, when he was only 16 years old.[1] Julian was one of 30 to 50 people of African descent in the pirate crew — all were treated as equals.

Newspaper item about execution of "Julian the Indian" (The Weekly Rehearsal, Boston, March 1733)

Julian's life became more difficult after he survived the Whydah wreck in 1717. He was jailed in Boston but apparently never indicted. He was likely sold into slavery, the "Julian the Indian" bought by John Quincy — whose great grandson, President John Quincy Adams, became a staunch abolitionist.

A purported "unruly slave", Julian the Indian was sold to another owner and tried often to escape. During one attempt, he killed a bounty hunter who was trying to catch him. He was executed on March 26, 1733.[2]


  1. ^ "Life aboard the Whydah: A Motley Crew". "Real Pirates" museum exhibit website. Chicago, Illinois: The Field Museum. 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Weekly Rehearsal. Boston. 19 March 1733.  Missing or empty |title= (help);