Pirating was never a job that came with a lot of job security. You could disappear off the plank without a trace. Come across a foe and end up buried to sea. Annoy the wrong shipmate from a rival crew at the wrong time, and, kablooey!
Blackbeard may be one of the most riveting pirates in all of pirate lore. His antics have earned him a notoriety that few can even touch.
Many ask the question, was Blackbeard a real person? The answer to this is rather simple – yes. Blackbeard was absolutely a real person.
Unfortunately, everything about him is made murky and is rather complicated. Blackbeard may be real, but the stories tied to him may not be.
Here we explore some of the fascinating stories revolving around this huge personality. What do we know? What are we confident of? Blackbeard seemed to live the pirate life in every single way and to 110%.
The Origins of Blackbeard
Most agree that Blackbeard’s real name was Edward Teach, an Englishman who surprisingly was able to read and write. It was perhaps these skills that gave him a distinct edge in his pirating career.
He began as a crewman during Queen Anne’s War, fighting alongside Captain Benjamin Hornigold. His ferocity and ambition earned him captain status with a captured pirate ship.
But he was still under the control of Hornigold until he was usurped by his crew, eventually toiling away as a for-hire pirate hunter years later.
In the meantime, Blackbeard went off on his own and the real trouble began.
Queen Anne’s Revenge
Blackbeard captured a French slave vessel called the La Concorde and raided it of all its supplies. He then renamed the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge and heavily-equipped it with about 40 cannons. This was unprecedented. He turned the slave ship into a war ship and conquered multiple ships throughout the region with its power and might.
The Image of Blackbeard
Blackbeard was smart enough to know that if he was not ruthless and held the image of a captain on the brink of insanity, he would lose his crew to a mutiny.
He embodied the pirate look by basically creating it. Blackbeard reportedly set fuses in his hair that would set portions of his hair on fire and coat him in a constant smoke.
He dressed in all black, equipped his ships with vicious imagery, and wore multiple pistols on him before battle. His flag featured a stark demon stabbing a heart- an example of his ruthless abandon and pursuit of destroying his foes.
Interestingly, it is suggested that he disliked killing. He found killing unproductive because he could hire his captors. He used his brash image to discourage his foes from fighting back. It was better business. The fact that he provided mercy to those who surrendered likely built his reputation and his place in history.
The Death of Blackbeard
Blackbeard had a bad streak. He lost three ships and many supplies. He then sought a pardon from the Governor of North Carolina, Charles Eden.
Apparently unbeknownst to Eden, Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia sent a British naval force to attack the famed pirate on his way to North Carolina to meet with Charles Eden.
The forces met outside Ocracoke Island. On Nov 22nd, 1718, Blackbeard met his fate in a tested battle with only about 25 men available to him. Regardless, he went down like no other. It was reported that he was sliced from a sword upwards of 20 times and shot five times before falling.
To cement his defeat, British soldiers chopped his head off and pinned it to the bow of their boat. This ended his legacy and immortalized him in Crystal Coast history.
Blackbeard was not the most successful raiding pirate of the seas. Henry Avery topped him in sheer finds and Black Bart Roberts bested his record of captured ships.
But, Blackbeard exemplified pirate aesthetics. Be bold, be brash, and attack without mercy. His story is a fascinating example of humankind’s pursuit of power.
See the Pirate History Today on the Crystal Coast
You can see where Blackbeard was defeated on a boat tour of Ocracoke Island. There’s also the Blackbeard Exhibit at Teach’s Hole on Ocracoke Island (935 Irvin Garrish Highway), a lifelike recreation of Blackbeard along with pirate flags, weapons, models of Blackbeard’s ships and pirate trinkets for sale.
Contact us at 252-247-7610 to learn more about the best ways to visit Ocracoke Island, Blackbeard related activities and the other fascinating historical and outdoor attractions of the Crystal Coast.
And consider a stay at one of our top tier Crystal Coast rentals near Ocracoke Island for your next vacation, as we can help you find the most suitable vacation home with every amenity you expect and more!