Edward Teach - Biography and Facts about Blackbeard
Blackbeard the Pirate
Even though he was not the most successful, the feared and hated sea-robber, legendary Blackbeard is probably the most famous pirate of the Caribbean. As a notorious figure and a villain, he has been the main subject of many stories, books and movies in modern fiction.
In appearance, he was most notable and terrifying because of the long black beard which covered almost his whole face. For amusement, he used to separate it into the tails, each one tied with a differently colored ribbon. Speaking of his image, Teach was always wearing a sling with three pairs of pistols strung across his breast in addition of cutlass and few knives in his belt. An opposing crew often surrendered only by a sight of this seafaring pirate, although some rumors goes that he was very generous with the people who cooperated with him.
Intelligent and astute for a pirate, he was well educated and he could read and write. He was also famous for his weakness for women. It is said that he had around 14 wives and that only his last marriage to 14-years-old Mary Ormond was legitimate.
His real name is not certain. Most likely it was Edward Drummond, but he always introduced himself as Edward Teach. However, he was the best known as Blackbeard.
It is believed that he was born in Bristol around 1680. During his teen years, Blackbeard left England and took a passage to the Caribbean. He served in Jamaica as a privateer during the War of Spanish Succession. After the war, he moved to New Providence in Bahamas. There he worked as an ordinary crewman on the sloop commanded by the pirate and the ex-privateer, Captain Benjamin Hornigold.
By learning the trade of piracy quickly, Blackbeard was promoted and awarded with his own vessel and a small crew from his tutor. Soon, as he was sailing alongside captain Hornigold and plundered many ships, Teach gained bloodthirsty reputation. The "Concorde" was the last big capture of this duo. Nonetheless, it was the powerful 300-ton frigate armed with 26 guns. However, Hornigold decided to retire from a piracy and gave to Blackbeard the "Concorde". Horngold accepted the offer of general amnesty for pirates in the Caribbean Sea from Woodes Rogers, the governor of Bahamas. Teach upgraded the "Concorde" with 40 guns and renamed it to "Queen Anne's Revenge".
He continued to capture vessels in the Caribbean. Most epic victory was certainly the one in the sea-battle against the powerful warship, HMS "Scarborough", which brought even bigger reputation to the pirate captain. In January 1718, Teach sailed for Bathe Towne in North Carolina and found a new base in Ocracoke Islands. He was spending days robbing the passing ships. The nearby town's market was a perfect place for selling captured goods. Even the local Governor Eden was bribed so Blackbeard wasn't prosecuted for any of his crimes.
When the pirates sailed to Florida, Teach's crew encountered the sloop "Revenge", commanded by another famous pirate, Stede Bonnet. The two captains became friends and they agreed to sail together as partners. However, soon after agreement, Blackbeard realized that Bonnet was a poor leader and an uncompetitive pirate. Therefore, Teach convinced him to leave captain's place to his man. Bonnet was boarded on the "Queen Anne's Revenge" as a "guest".
In that period, Blackbeard captured several more prize ships, and the sloop "Adventure" was added to his fleet. When the pirates left the Caribbean, the fleet counted four ships and over 300 pirates. In May 1718, Teach anchored near the harbor of Charles Town (now Charleston), South Carolina where he seized 8 vessels with great valuables and some very important people. However, his pirates were deceased and in a need of medicines rather than money. So Blackbeard ransomed many prominent citizens, who were enslaved, for the medical supplies.
Unfortunately, later that month, when the pirates sailed to North Carolina, the "Queen Anne's Revenge" was lost as she ran aground in shallow waters at Beaufort Inlet. In that period, Teach planned to take a pardon like Hornigold. However, before that, he had committed a greedy treason. Intension was to get rid of Stede Bonnet. Blackbeard persuaded him to receive a pardon as well. When he left for Bathe Towne, Teach marooned around 30 pirates on island, stole all valuables and fled with the "Adventure". Later, Stede Bonnet rescued the marooned pirates, and in return they agreed to obey his commands. Once again he took control of the "Revenge", which was left to him, as Blackbead promised if Bonnet would accept amnesty.
Meanwhile Teach returned to Bathe Towne, sold the entire booty, bought a house and was granted a pardon from his "old friend", Governor Eden. Local people taught his pirate's days were finished.
Anyway, Blackbeard couldn't settle with an ordinary life. He was tired of pretending to be a prominent citizen. So after a few months, bloody pirate returned to his old trade and continued to plunder ships near his base. Despite his activities were well covered, some local ship owners feared of Blackbeard and possible gathering of pirates. Doubts were especially increased when another famous pirate, Charles Vane visited Ocracoke Island to salute his old friend. Soon, complains reached nearby colony of Virginia.
The local governor, Alexander Spotswood had been frustrated by the pirates for a long time, so he dispatched military to get rid of Blackbeard. The two naval vessels, HMS "Pearl" and HMS "Lyme", were selected for that particular task, but waters around Teach’s base were too shallow for those ships. Spotswood then offered money from his own pocket to hire two sloops, "Ranger" and "Jane". Lieutenant Robert Maynard was in command of these two sloops filled with Royal Naval crew.
Maynard attacked Blackbeard at the dawn of 22nd November 1718. In the one epic sea-battle, Captain Blackbead was finally killed and few surviving pirates from his crew were sentenced and hanged afterwards.