Little Bits of History

Blackbeard

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 22, 2010

Engraving of Blackbeard the Pirate by Thomas Nicholls

November 22, 1718: Lt. Robert Maynard chases down and kills the notorious pirate Blackbeard. Edward Teach was born around 1680 in England, probably Bristol. He began his seafaring life during the War of Spanish Succession in Jamaica. He joined forces with another pirate, Benjamin Hornigold in 1716.

Teach was a large man with a bushy black beard. He wove hemp into his beard and lit it on fire while approaching ships. The terrifying specter was often enough to forestall any form of resistance. He was a scary person with legends that were bandied about even in his own time. He is said to have shot and killed one of his own crew just to remind the rest of the crew who was boss.

Teach made captain in the pirate fleet when he overtook a French slave ship, Le Concorde. She was a two-ton frigate with 20 cannons. Teach refitted her with another 20 cannons and rechristened her the Queen Anne’s Revenge. He eventually commanded four ships with over 300 pirates under his control.

He stayed along the coastlines and in the estuaries because the shallow waters made it harder to defend against his superior strength. In May 1718, the Queen Anne foundered and was lost. Blackbeard had homes in Nassau and in North Carolina where payoffs to the governor, Charles Eden, kept him safer. However, the British were not amused with the piracy and eventually Lt. Maynard led the attack, bringing Blackbeard down with five gunshots and over 20 cuts from swords. Blackbeard was beheaded as proof of his demise in order to collect the £100 reward. His head was hung from the bowsprit for bravado and place on a pike in Bath, England as a warning.

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” – Steve Jobs

“If you can’t find something here, you can’t find it anywhere, … There’s a pirate in everyone!” – Michael Egan

“May we all co-operate and join this war on pirates.” – Jackie Chan

“Suddenly you’re like a pirate, you’re 65 years old and you’ve got an earring.” – Fred Willard

Also on this day, in 1928 Bolero by Maurice Ravel was first performed.

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