Abraham Samuel, also known as “Tolinar Rex,” born in Martinique (or possibly in Anosy, Madagascar), was a mulatto pirate of the Indian Ocean in the days of the Pirate Round in the late-1690s. Being shipwrecked on his way back to New York, he briefly led a combined pirate-Antanosy kingdom from Fort Dauphin (see Tolanaro), Madagascar, from 1697 until he died there in 1705.
Abraham was the son of a Martinique planter and a black slave, went on the account under Captain John Hoar. After cruising the Caribbean, the John and Rebecca sailed for richer prey in the Indian Ocean. At some point Samuel’s fellow pirates elected him their quartermaster. After capturing a prize near Surrat, the sea rovers put in at St. Mary’s in February 1697. Unbeknownst to them, the Malagasy had rebelled against Adam Baldridge, the retired pirate who became the go-between for the pirates and New York merchants who bought their booty. Captain Hoar and a number of pirates died in the uprising, but Samuel and others escaped. They set sail for New York, but the ship sank after hitting a reef near Fort Dauphin, an abandoned French settlement.
After the death of her husband, the chief’s wife ruled the Malagasy. One day she saw the shipwrecked men bathing in the ocean and noticed strange markings on Samuel’s body. They were the same markings her own child had had, but she hadn’t seen her son in many years. His father, a Frenchman, had taken the child with him when he fled Madagascar in 1674. The woman declared Samuel her long-lost son and made him chief of the Malagasy.
With the assistance of his fellow shipwrecked pirates, some of whom became his bodyguards, and the Malagasy, Samuel traded with slavers and pirates alike. Fort Dauphin became so popular it rivaled St. Mary’s as a trading center. In November 1699, Samuel assessed an American slaver £100 for a trading license. The following year, Captain Littleton, a member of the English Royal Navy, invited Samuel and two of his wives to dine with him aboard his ship. Littleton reported Samuel was much loved by the Malagasy.
In September 1699, a pirate named Evan Jones raided an American slave ship in the port. He gave the ship to Samuel, who sold it to four other pirates for 1,100 pieces of eight. He signed the document detailing the purchase and added “King of Fort Dauphin, Tollannare, Farrawe, Ganquest, and Founzahíra.” News of the attack and sale, and Samuel’s participation in it, spread and ships ceased to visit the port. When a Dutch slaver anchored there in December 1706, Abraham Samuel was gone and the new chief declined to discuss his fate.
**Information courtesy of http://www.cindyvallar.com/blackpirates.html and http://www.privateerdragons.com/index.html**