ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

About Blackbeard the Pirate

Updated on January 17, 2018
cclitgirl profile image

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about diverse topics, from digital marketing to languages and culture.

An engraved image of Blackbeard.
An engraved image of Blackbeard. | Source

Edward Teach (Thatch)

Blackbeard, the infamous legendary pirate who ruled the Atlantic seas in the early 1700s was a man shrouded in mystery. Indeed, historians have pieced together the last 18 months of his life, but before that, not much is known.

He was born as Edward Teach (or even Thatch). Before he became a pirate of his own sloop, he may have been a privateer.

A privateer was a person who plundered enemy ships under the blessing of a government during a war. When a privateer gained possession of items from a ship, a percentage of it went back to the government for whom the privateer worked.

Because privateers learned to live a lifestyle that involved adventures on the high seas, many of them would go into “private business” when a government contract finished. They would become pirates, essentially carrying on their duties as privateers, but now illegally.

Pirates would raid ships and keep the loot for themselves, dividing it among their crew. Often the pirate did not pilot his own ship and would divide his booty with his pilot. This way, pirates could focus on robbing other ships and commanding their crews.

The Atlantic Ocean where Blackbeard sailed at sea.  This picture was taken on Cape Hatteras at the Outer Banks.
The Atlantic Ocean where Blackbeard sailed at sea. This picture was taken on Cape Hatteras at the Outer Banks. | Source

How Blackbeard Got His Name

Teach got his start after arriving in the Bahamas in 1716 and befriended a pirate named Benjamin Hornigold. He served under him for only a short time, but gained valuable skills as a pirate.

By 1717, Teach gained control of a French ship, La Concorde. From there, he really began to build his notorious pirating career.

When he took control of La Concorde, he allowed slaves and privateers to serve on his ship. There was no loss of life.

With that, his nickname began to catch on: Blackbeard. His characteristic features were a long black beard that started high on his face. He let the beard grow long and would separate it into many braids, tied with ribbons.

He only helped his startling look by inserting slow-burning cords of wood into his hair that would smolder and send off smoke. This may be the stuff of legend, but this revolting image is what people think of when it comes to Blackbeard.

Ocracoke and Pamlico Sound, Where Blackbeard Liked To Hide

Blackbeard the Pirate Was Democratic

He used his monstrous image to intimidate other people and ships. People would often surrender without a fight to him because he looked so terrifying and his reputation preceded him. He actually engaged in much less physical violence than other pirates.

In 1718, flourishing in his endeavors, Blackbeard was the commander of four ships and over three hundred crew members.

He was known as a democratic leader. Many pirates held democracy in high regard, though it lacked such virtues as humanitarianism or equal justice for those not onboard their ships.

He also ruled his ships with equality. African slaves and anyone else who served under him had equal rights as long as they contributed to the well-being of the crew and did their part.

Blackbeard once sailed this very part of the sound - the open area between Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island.  His ship, "Queen Anne's Revenge" is rumored to have sunk near this area.
Blackbeard once sailed this very part of the sound - the open area between Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island. His ship, "Queen Anne's Revenge" is rumored to have sunk near this area. | Source

Blackbeard and Queen Anne's Revenge

One of Blackbeard’s more infamous antics was in May of 1718. He was in the port at Charleston, SC and took control of the harbor. He plundered quite a few ships, including one bound for London. This London-bound ship had quite a few well-to-do members of European society on board.

Blackbeard took them hostage and demanded a medicine chest. He declared he would spare the hostages if they provided him with what he asked. He gave the government of Charleston a deadline.

The deadline came and went and the passengers feared for their lives. Blackbeard continued boarding and robbing ships while he waited to see what officials were going to do.

Finally, they relented and he got his chest of medicine. With that, he released the hostages and headed north on his ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge was heavily armed. However, he lost her at Beaufort Inlet, due to the ever-moving sands near the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Do You Think Blackbeard Really Sunk His Own Ship

See results

Blackbeard Faced Enemies

Historians believe they found Blackbeard's ship exactly 278 years after it was lost. They aren’t 100% sure, but because of the dates of various artifacts on it, they are fairly certain that they have found it sunken in the depths of the sea. It was covered with barnacles and coral by the time they found it and was also a victim of salt-water erosion. That has made it extremely difficult to positively identify her.

Some say Blackbeard deliberately destroyed his ship to make his fleet a smaller target for would-be attackers.

At about this time, the English king declared he wanted to curb piracy and make the seas safer. He pardoned countless pirates through the governments of the colonies. North Carolina governor Charles Eden pardoned Blackbeard.

Blackbeard didn’t give up his pirating ways, however. Many speculated that Eden was on the pirates’ side. He did little to stop piracy along the coast of his state.

Blackbeard was so disposed to live the nomadic life of a pirate, he never settled in one place for long. Many stories exist about how Blackbeard married a dozen different women during the course of his life, staying with each one only a short time. He always returned to his ships on the sea.

Eventually, however, Blackbeard’s enemies caught up to him. In November of 1718, Lieutenant Robert Maynard commanded two ships to try to defeat Blackbeard. The governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, was not sympathetic to the pirates’ cause. He ordered Maynard to dispatch Blackbeard at whatever the cost.

Blackbeard once sailed Pamlico Sound near the Outer Banks.  The moving sands, shallow waters and dangerous shoals helped him to hide from enemies.
Blackbeard once sailed Pamlico Sound near the Outer Banks. The moving sands, shallow waters and dangerous shoals helped him to hide from enemies. | Source

Blackbeard's Downfall

Maynard commanded two vessels. He had many less men to fight than Blackbeard and his ships weren’t armed so that he would deftly navigate the inlets of the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks were (and still are) notorious for their shoals and ever-moving sandbars.

Despite these odds, he still confronted Blackbeard.

Once their ships crossed, Blackbeard fired volleys of cannons toward Maynard’s sloops. He crippled Maynard’s second ship, The Ranger, and killed its captain.

Midst all the smoke and gunfire, Blackbeard saw a lot of carnage on Maynard’s first ship, The Jane. He didn’t see any life whatsoever.

Moments later, he boarded Jane with his crew. What he didn’t know was that Maynard ordered his troops to hide out of sight and wait. As soon as Blackbeard was on his ship, dozens of men pummeled the invaders. Blackbeard whipped out two small guns he carried with him, firing shot after shot., but not really finding any targets.

Maynard, however, had a more sure shot, and fired his own gun. One bullet hit Blackbeard. He stumbled and was disoriented momentarily but recovered enough to take out his sword and begin fighting Maynard.

Blackbeard’s sword was stronger than Maynard’s. His sword broke Maynard’s, and Blackbeard cornered him. Just as Blackbeard raised his own sword to finish off his enemy, a member of Maynard’s crew came up behind Blackbeard and slit his throat.

Maynard finished the job by decapitating Blackbeard and hung his head on the bow of his ship. This would serve as a warning against piracy. Crewmembers disposed of Blackbeard’s body by throwing it overboard.

Blackbeard’s tales of piracy had far-reaching effects. When he died, places as far away as Boston published news of his death in their papers. Benjamin Franklin himself even wrote a ballad about Blackbeard entitled, “The Downfall of Piracy”. Though the original words are lost, the fact that Franklin was moved to write about Blackbeard speaks volumes about his deeds out at sea.

References: Pirates of the Southern Coast. MacLean Clunies, Sandra and Bruce Roberts. © Lighthouse Publications, 2002. ISBN: 0967653762.

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)