Monday, May 30, 2011

Blackbeard's Short Career

Apparently a 3,000-lb. anchor believed to belong to the Queen Anne's Revenge - the ship of the infamous pirate Edward Teach (aka "Blackbeard") - has been recovered from the waters off the coast of North Carolina. "little is known about his early life. In 1716 he joined the crew of Benjamin Hornigold, a pirate who operated from the Caribbean island of New Providence. He quickly acquired his own ship, and from 1717 to 1718 became a renowned pirate. His cognomen, Blackbeard, was derived from his thick black beard and fearsome appearance; he was reported to have tied lit fuses under his hat to frighten his enemies. After parting company with Hornigold, Teach formed an alliance of pirates and with his cohort blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina. He successfully ransomed its inhabitants and then soon after, ran his ship aground on a sandbar near Beaufort, North Carolina ... the Governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood ... arranged for a party of soldiers and sailors to find and capture the pirate, which they did on 22 November 1718... A shrewd and calculating leader, Teach avoided the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed. Contrary to the modern-day picture of the traditional tyrannical pirate, he commanded his vessels with the permission of their crews and there are no known accounts of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive. He was romanticised after his death, and became the inspiration for a number of pirate-themed works of fiction across a range of genres."(Wiki) I'm amazed that the legendary Blackbeard forged such a reputation in a period of only 2 short years - must've been quite the character!