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About Blackbeard the Pirate

Updated on September 23, 2012
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.

© C. Calhoun 2012. All rights reserved.

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
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

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.

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 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 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

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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'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.

Ocracoke and Pamlico Sound, Where Blackbeard Liked To Hide

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    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Cyndi this is very informational! I enjoyed listening to the video as I read, I actually learned some things about Blackbeard I didn't know. The music was a great touch as well! Loved it all Cyndi! Great job, voted up across the board and everything, sharing as well! :)

      P.S I do have one question for you: Are you Blackbeard's ghost??? LOL

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

      Always enjoy a pirate hub! Lots of great info!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      josh - hehe, thanks a bunch! I'm glad the video turned out all right and that you learned a thing or two about Blackbeard. :D Thanks for the votes and shares and...some would say that I'm Blackbeard's ghost...I channeled him for five minutes. Hehehe.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Jenn-Anne - hehe, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed this. Cheers! :)

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I am not big with Pirates; but I have truly enjoyed your narration on Blackbeard. He died a heinous death and painful indeed. You did a fantastic job and I enjoyed reading again about Blackbeard. Thumbs up and shared! :)

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Channeled him for five minutes, good one! :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Julianna - hey there! Hehe, thanks for coming by. I'm really glad you enjoyed this. Wasn't his death just awful? Ick! But, hopefully my "ghost" did him justice. :D Thanks for the kudos. (HUGS)

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Josh - hehe, that's right. I think I might still be glowing....

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Look who's doing videos! Fantastic hub Sis! I enjoyed it greatly and it taught me some things I didn't know about Blackbeard. Great job!

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 4 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Great article and video, so much really cool information. I didn't even know BlackBeard was a real person. voted up, awesome and interesting.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great video Cyndi. You as Blackbeard's ghost was a great touch. Lots of great info but you really captured the horror of his death. What a deterrent!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      What a great piece of history on Blackbeard. To tell you the truth, I didn't know he actually existed. I thought he was a fairy tale figure. Interesting hub and well written. Loved your video!

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

      Great video and a wonderful article. I learned a whole lot of things I didn't know about Blackbeard. Thank you for putting together such an informative and entertaining Hub!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Hehehe, I'm glad the video turned out all right, Bill. I'm never quite sure with the way my computer works. Haha. Thanks for coming by!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      DS - Indeed, Blackbeard was real, but I think his legend got to be bigger than he was. Haha. Thanks a million for stopping by. Cheers!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Teresa - hey, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your insightful comments. Your related hub about the ships and sloops was incredible! Blackbeard did meet a grisly end, but I do think it made his legend only get bigger. Cheers!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Teaches - hehe, thanks! Blackbeard was a character, wasn't he? Thank you so much for stopping by. ...and the legend lives on...

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Kaili - Thank you so much for your feedback. Blackbeard was an intriguing character for sure. I definitely enjoyed finding out more about him. Have a great day! :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Glad to learn all these facts about Blackbeard. And kudos to actually getting an interview with the man himself! Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 4 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      Arrrr you sure, your neighbors don't think you are a just a tad whacky reenacting a pirate's death? Fantastic: entertaining and informative.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Alocsin - yeah, hehehe, I resurrected Blackbeard for a few minutes. He channeled through me and made me act that way. ;) Thanks for comin' by...ARRR!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      OD - hehehe, lucky for me, I don't have any neighbors nearby. They live over the next mountain. Soo, I can commiserate with the voices in the woods and only the little bear might hear. AARRR! :D (Though, I'm not denying your accusation about being wacky.)

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      kelleyward 4 years ago

      What a great video! I thought you did a fantastic job. I also didn't know much about Blackbeard that is until now. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared! Kelley

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Kelley - hehehe, thanks for your feedback on the video. You can never be too sure how those will really turn out. ;) Take care and thanks for stopping by at another of my hubs. You are a gem.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Very well done. The video was the icing on the cake, and the entire hub is a work of art. Up and awesome, Cindy, well deserved.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      aviannovice - hehe, thank you so much. :) It was fun making the video - I got really into it. I appreciate your awesome feedback. Have a wonderful day! Hubhugs!

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Interesting piece of history, and told well. The video is a fine story-telling idea, I appreciate the effort. Voted up.

    • profile image

      parwatisingari 4 years ago

      hey this was a good one.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia

      My son loves pirates, so it was great to share with him:) thanks...

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      sen.sush23 - aw, shucks. Thanks so much! I want to do more hubs like these, so your feedback helps a lot. :) Cheers!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Parwatisingari - thanks for stopping by. :) Cheers.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Beata Stasak - awesome! I hope ya'll enjoyed it. I'm getting more and more into pirate history. Hehe. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Hello Cyndi, Blackbeard was such a colorful figure in early US history ans his story always makes enjoyable reading. Excellent writing and research, as you always provide.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Hi, Cyndi10. Before I went to the Outer Banks to research this, I didn't know much about Blackbeard. But, you're right - his story was captivating. Thanks for stopping by. Hubhugs!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      So, we have an actress/actor and producer rolled into one...right here in our midst! What a wonderful job you did! This was such an informational hub and your video made it that much more enjoyable.

      What will your next performance be? I'd love front row seats.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

      Congrats on being listed in Patty's hub "Why You Should Nominate and Vote in the 2012 Hubbie Awards; It Will Be Fun - Or at Least Funny"!!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      tillsontitan - hehe. I was all inspired when I did this video. Now, because of wonderful feedback like yours, I'm thinking about doing others.

      Hmm, I'll keep you posted on my next "performance" - I promise it'll be good. Hehehe. Thanks so much, though. You really have given me some ideas to work with!

      I'll have a look at Patty's hub. I actually had no idea! Thanks for letting me know. Hubhugs! :D

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Cyndi, loved your video :o) and I listened to it as I read - great job! I knew nothing about Blackbeard so this has been a learning experience as well as an entertaining one.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Julie - hehe, I know, I know I'm a nut. :D I didn't know much about Blackbeard until I went to the Outer Banks back in April and "discovered" him. I knew I had to write about him. Hehehe. Thanks for coming by to another of my hubs. Hubhugs!!

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Love the video and the "heh heh hehs". The tactical secrets bit is really good. I had no idea he managed so many sailors! Excellent, wonderful job. Voted up and AWESOME!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Clevercat - aw, shucks. I had so much fun doing this, I want to do more hubs like this. That ol' Blackbeard was a riot - and we only know about 18 months of his life. Sheesh! Thanks for stoppin by and for the votes. :)

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Cyndi that is awesome! I loved the video too! I certainly would love to live in an area like that - the woods look so beautiful. You have a cool life - and I love how you did a great hub and made it so fun and informative. I really never knew so much about Blackbeard as I do now.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      Outstanding video performance! - A lot of schools could use this HubPages in their classes, and probably will if we share it with enough schools.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      RHW - hehe, I'm a nut. :D I love our woods...and I'm thinking I need to do more "performances". LOL. Blackbeard was a crazy guy, but I admit, telling his story was really fun.

      Patty Inglish - thank you so much! I used to be a teacher, and shared this with some of my former teaching colleagues. I'm anxious to see if they've used it. Thank you so much for your feedback.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      Oho! Every success to you among the teachers and schools.

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Patty Inglish - haha. I'm waiting to hear if anyone used it in their lesson plans today. :)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

      Loved the article, unfortunately the advertisement on the video was kind of long...just an FYI. Great stuff though...and the pictures rock!

    • cclitgirl profile image
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      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Kittythedreamer - you know, I had no idea HP was putting ads on the videos. Hmm, I wonder if it's a "beta" test or something. Good to know! Thank you for stopping by; I'm glad you enjoyed this. :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Awesome! I like the video. This is a very informational hub. I did not know much about Blackbeard until now. Kudos to this hub and thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading it.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Thelma Alberts - hehe, I tried my hand at acting. Thank you for stopping by and for your awesome feedback. Have a great day!

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