You can’t mention pirates without bringing up one perhaps the most notorious and feared pirate of all time – Blackbeard. Little is known about his early life, or if Edward Teach was even his real name, but we know that he was born in 1680, likely in Bristol, England.
Blackbeard started his journey on ships when he served on a British privateer. Throughout the Queen Anne’s War, or the second series of the French and Indian Wars, privateers protected England by attacking mostly French vessels and stealing their goods. The honest civilian life wasn’t enough for Blackbeard and he decided to take his superb looting skills elsewhere.
Blackbeard soon worked his way up to became the captain of one of the French sloops he helped capture, which was renamed Queen Anne’s Revenge. He and his crew dominated the Atlantic from 1716 to 1718, looting boats and selling the goods in various places, including America. Because pirate goods were cheap, people bought them without much question.
Blackbeard liked to maintain a threatening appearance (one of his trademarks was placing burning fuses under his hat) and he liked to keep an excessive number of weapons stashed across his chest. His long, black beard is where he got his nickname, of course. It was speculated that he dabbled in black arts and voodoo and would zombify his crew members. In any event, he was an intelligent and calculating man that could read and write, and he
relied on his fearsome image and reputation to keep himself in power. Although some say there are no records of Blackbeard ever harming or killing any captive individuals, other reports say he was prone to violence, especially against his own crew. Either way, the man liked power. Below is the flag Blackbeard used, which was supposed to intimidate rival ships.
Eventually, Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia, sent a group of soldiers commanded by Lieutenant Robert Maynard of HMS Pearl to try and capture Blackbeard. During a vicious battle with Maynard’s men, Blackbeard was killed in the midst, and his head was cut off and hung from his ship. Even after Blackbeard’s death, many speculated that it was just a legend and that he actually escaped from death and recaptured his ship.
If you’re looking for more information about Blackbeard, the Blackbeard, Pirate King of the Caribbean can be found in full here on YouTube. We’ve also included it below.
PBS also covered the finding of Blackbeard’s lost ship, and the reason behind why it sank, which you can watch on the PBS website or watch below. Sorry for the somewhat creepy 30 second introduction of the Secrets of the Dead video series!
Sources & Additional Information
- National Geographic
- North Carolina Historic Sites
- The Republic of Pirates
- Queen Anne’s Revenge Found
- Learn NC