The Most Feared Pirate in the World Blackbeard
It’s just another day plundering and drinking on the high seas. You have just finished your third bottle of rum as the midday sun reflects off of the open ocean. Your captain comes out of his quarters and looks around menacingly at the crew. “Drink up lads, for today we plunder our largest booty yet!” he shouts. His jet black beard and crazed eyes strike awe and respect into the crew. The infamous scoundrel who captains your ship is Blackbeard and he is one of the most feared pirates of all time. The childhood of Blackbeard was unknown up until the last ten years. It was only in this time that scholars uncovered documents and genetic information that identified Blackbeard as Edward Teach or Thache depending on the document.
The two surnames were often used interchangeably in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds. Evidence suggests that Edward Teach was born around 1680 in either Bristol, England or Jamaica. It was clear from an early age that EdwardTeach would spend his life on the open Ocean. A 1706 document provided information that Edward Teach had been willed his father’s estate. But instead of keeping the estate, Teach turned over the properties to his stepmother and siblings. He did this so that he could join the RoyalNavy and begin his career as a sailor.
The documents suggest that Edward Teach left his family and joined the Navy to seek wealth from the island of Jamaica, which had vast amounts of white gold, more commonly known as sugar. Also the key ingredient in rum. Drink up me hearties yo ho! Although the estate Edward Teach inherited was vast, he left it all behind for a crewmember spot on a merchant ship. This was his first step towards gaining the nautical experience he desired. Edward Teach was a well-educated man, who was literate and capable of using complex equipment for navigation.
The legends and myths surrounding Blackbeardare fascinating, but the actual man was complex. Who was Blackbeard and what made him such a successful pirate? Imagine you are a pirate that has been recruited to join the ranks of Blackbeard’s crew. You’ve heard rumors of your new captain, some seem too unbelievable to be true. Your crewmates tell you Blackbeard has “fierce and wild eyes” that strikes fear into his victims. Others tell you he always has three pistols locked and loaded across his chest, just waiting for a chance to use them. And everyone claims that before a battle the captain would light his beard on fire.
He is compared to a comet that instills fear in all who see him. And no one forgets to mention his jet, Blackbeard. But what really brought you to seek out and join the crew of Blackbeard were the rumors of the vast amounts of treasure he had amassed. It was claimed that there were treasure chests with obscene amounts of gold buried somewhere. And that only Blackbeard knew the location of his treasure. He had caught and plundered over thirty ships. You realize that even if only half of the legends about Blackbeard are true, it would be worth your while to join his crew. But as you get to know your captain a little better you find that the man is not only cunning and fierce but inquisitive and refined as well.
You sit down to eat with your crewmates and notice that the food is some of the best you’ve ever had. It is full of spices and the quality is better than any fancy restaurant on land. You come to find that Blackbeard has a fondness for good food. He hired a chef from France to prepare the meals aboard his ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. You also find that your captain is an avid reader. On the ship, he has a collection of books, which includes A Voyage to the South Sea and Round the World, Perform’d in the Years1708, 1709, 1710, and 1711 by Captain Edward Cooke. Although you discover there is a softer side to Blackbeard you make no mistake as to his dedication to piracy.
He is still the bane of merchant ships all along the coast of North America. Stories of how Blackbeard transitioned from naval officer to pirate are told between your pirate friends. You find out that Edward Teach was hired as a privateer by the British during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was when a fleet of Spanish ships departing from Havana, Cuba, and filled with treasure were wrecked on Florida’s coast, that EdwardTeach adopted the persona of Blackbeard the pirate. The treasure was too plentiful and beautiful to share with the British Monarchy.
He decided to keep the treasure for himself thus solidifying his name as Blackbeard in pirate history. You can’t help but notice the impressive nature of the ship you’re sailing on. You wonder how Blackbeard’s flagship, QueenAnne’s Revenge, came to be in his possession. It was rumored that he gave the ship its name after the last monarch of England from the house of Stuart. Queen Anne had been forced off the throne by George the First, which seemed to not sit well with Blackbeard. The ship was originally a French merchant vessel, but Blackbeard turned it into a Warmachine by adding forty cannons. Queen Anne’s Revenge carried approximately three hundred pirates and was as dangerous as her captain. Blackbeard even had his own flag designed for Queen Anne’s Revenge.
The flag depicted a heart dripping crimson blood and a skeleton holding an hourglass and spear. It was designed to intimidate and instill chaos aboard other ships. Queen Anne’s Revenge and the rest of Blackbeard’sfleet docked in a North Carolina inlet when they weren’t patrolling the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This is where the base of operations for Blackbeard and his pirates was located. It was from here that Blackbeard forced ships docking and trading in North Carolina to pay tolls or be destroyed. He bribed colonial governors to ignore his pirate activities and was able to plunder ships coming into North Carolina in less unimpeded for years.
Sometimes Blackbeard lets you and the other members of the crew take breaks between plundering, pillaging, and life on the seas. You are allowed to go into port and drink to your heart’s content, or frequent a house of women of ill repute. As long as you were back on the ship and ready for more pirating, you could pretty much do whatever you wanted. But today is not one of those days. There is no time for relaxation. Today Blackbeard has a plan to capture and steal from a British merchant ship. Your captain’s victim is sailing towards one of the North Carolina channels.
Their ship is full of gold, goods, and booze. You are most excited about the booze because your rum stock is running dry. Blackbeard yells, “Hoist the flag!” You grab onto the rope hanging from the mainmast and pull. The skull and crossbones ascends to the top of the ship. Almost immediately the merchant vessel begins to turn away. They have no desire to fight with the fearedQueen Anne’s Revenge and her vicious captain. Unfortunately for the merchant ship, QueenAnne’s Revenge is lighter, and therefore, faster than they are. You quickly gain on your query.
Blackbear orders the crew to fire chain shot from the cannons to break the masts and render the merchant ship immobile. Queen Anne’s Revenge The cannons fire and the chain shot shatters the merchant ship’s masts, sending wooden splinters flying everywhere. Blackbeard steers Queen Anne’s Revenge up along the side of the stranded vessel and shouts orders to the crew. “Prepare to board lads! Take everything and don’t let anyone stand in your way!” he yells. Blackbeard lights his beard on fire, pulls one of his pistols out of its holster, and unsheathes his sword. He swings on a rope across to the merchant ship and takes no prisoners.
This is how most of your pirate days go. After several successful pillaging and plundering missions, Blackbeard chooses some of his most trusted men to accompany him to stash his treasure. You have been loyal and fought hard, so this time Blackbeard asks you to join his special band of merry pirates. This group is responsible for going with the captain to bury his treasure in an undisclosed location. It is an honor only a few crew members have, and if Blackbeard ever feels you are unloyal, he makes it known by putting a musket ball in your chest. A rowboat is loaded up with treasure chests and shovels. You and Blackbeard are lowered into the water and you begin to grow.
With one foot on the bow, Blackbeard uses his spyglass to watch the horizon and give you course corrections. You row for what seems like the better part of the morning before Blackbear shouts, “land ho!” You have reached his secret hiding spot. The location of his treasure is so well hidden, that it is rumored only Blackbeard can find it. You think to yourself, now I know where all of Blackbeard’s riches are kept! The pirate thing to do would be to kill Blackbeard and take his treasure. But you are loyal to your captain and you will take the secret to your grave. Maybe pirates aren’t such bad people after all. During your time aboard the Queen Anne’sRevenge, you have stolen more loot than you could have imagined, fought in bloody battles, and drank lots of rum.
Being a pirate can be a pretty good gig if your captain is as feared and skilled as Blackbeard. But it was all about to come to an end. On November 22, 1718, Queen Anne’s Revenge came across an ambush set up by Virginia’s colonial governor Alexander Spotswood. He had had enough of Blackbeard’s reign over the waters of the North American coast. The battle begins and the powerful cannons of the Queen Anne’s Revenge make quick work of the two ships sent to capture Blackbeard. The enemy ships run aground and are ripe for boarding. Blackbeard notices that the lead ship, which is named Jane, looks abandoned. He calls for the crew to prepare to board the seemingly derelict ship.
The Queen Anne’s Revenge sails alongside the Jane. You grab onto a rope ready to swing over to the other ship while your crewmates set up gangplanks between the two vessels. Blackbeard’s beard smolders from the fire he lit in it before the battle. He runs across a gangplank, sword raised in the air. The rest of the crew follows. There are only a few men on deck, which means the ship will be easy to plunder. Suddenly a flood of British soldiers ascends the stairs from below deck in a surprise attack! You fight alongside your fearless captain, but there are too many enemies and you become overwhelmed. You watch as Blackbeard ferociously fights off wave after wave of soldiers.
But then the unthinkable happens. Blackbeard is overrun by the enemy. He sustains twenty cuts from enemy swords and is shot five times. His body falls to the deck, his beard is still smoking, blood trickles from his wounds. After the battle, the crew of Queen Anne’sRevenge are rounded up. You are forced to watch as Blackbeard is decapitated. His head is hung on the front of the enemy British ship and his body is tossed overboard to Davy Jones’s Locker. Upon returning to Virginia, Blackbeard’shead is stuck on a pole on the shore of the town of Hampton. The severed head serves as a warning to other pirates to stop their treacherous lifestyle. Blackbeard had ravaged the seas for two years.
In this time he had amassed a fortune in plundered treasure and goods, struck fear into the hearts of ships along the North American coast, and became a legend. Soon after his death rumors started circulating that when Blackbeard was decapitated his spirit remained in his body. One account stated that after his head was tied to the bowsprit and body thrown in the ocean, Blackbeard’s body did several laps around the Jane before finally sinking into the depths of the black ocean. Perhaps the spirit of Blackbeard still haunts the North Carolina coast where he was killed.
Legends of his massive treasure also spread like wildfire. Pirates and treasure hunters looked for clues and maps that would lead them to the buried treasure of Blackbeard. But no one has ever found it. Around three hundred years after his death archaeologists located the sunken remains of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. More than 400,000 artifacts have been recovered, which have shone the light onto the man who was Blackbeard. The life of a pirate was full of adventure but fraught with difficulties. Archaeologists uncovered syringes with traces of mercury, most likely used as a treatment for syphilis. Blackbeard and his crew might have amassed a great fortune in treasure, but life on the high seas was anything but easy.
Blackbeard has gone down in history as one of the most feared pirates of all time. Legends of his buried treasure and flaming beard are still immortalized in stories and movies to this day. The man who was Blackbeard was much more sophisticated than most pirate stories make him out to be. He was not only a ferocious and feared pirate, but also a reader, a lover of fine foods, and a leader to his pirate crew. Maybe someday a treasure map will lead you to the lost buried treasure of Blackbeard. Or if nautical mysteries are more up your ally check out The Ghost Ship That The Government Tried To Keep A Secret – The Ourang Medan.
The Most Feared Pirate in the World Blackbeard