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Blackbeard
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BLACKBEARD

Edward Teach (AKA Blackbeard) may be one of the most famous American pirates. He was born in 1680 and died in 1718.
 
Blackbeard is obviously a pseudonym, and his real name is still a slight puzzle. The most common record of his real name is Edward Teach, but other last names such as Thatch, Tach, Tash and Drummond are also documented. It is possible that these may have been nom de guerre to protect family.
 
Despite having a rather cruel natured career, it can be argued that Blackbeard was an engaging sort of guy. He had fourteen wives and forty children in his lifetime, and loved each of them very much. There is also no record of anyone being killed during his plundering (Blackbeard, www.ocracoke-nc.com). Interestingly enough, Blackbeard is often considered to be one of the more notorious pirates of his time.
 
He prided himself in his ability to make his appearance intimidating. He would intertwine colorful ribbons into his beard and braid it into pigtails before a battle, and according to Captain Charles Johnson's General History of Pirates (1724), Blackbeard would place slow-burning matches under his hat to make his face appear to be smoking. However, in a 1999 article, underwater archaeologist Dave Moore says that there is no evidence other than Captain Johnson's book to uphold that fact. (Moore, 1999)
 
Blackbeard exploited and plundered in parts of the Caribbean, Georgia, South Carolina and of course North Carolina. He sailed on a forty-gun vessel called Queen Anne's Revenge.

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Queen Anne's Revenge became Blackbeard's when he captured it in 1417. Before then, it had been a French slave ship.
 
Blackbeard started out as a privateer, which was a legal form of piracy in the 1400's. Between 1701 and 1714, or Queen Anne's War, he attacked French ships and plundered for riches and goods inside. He did not get paid for this, rather, privateers received parts of the cargo looted from the ships they attacked.
 
It wasn't until 1716 when Blackbeard "officially" became a pirate. After meeting Captain Benjamin Hornigold, he worked as his protege'. The following year, he captured Queen Anne's Revenge and became captain.
 
His first attack as captain was on a merchant ship called the Great Allen. After plundering all the cargo, he burned the ship and sank it.
 
The majority of Blackbeard's attacks took place around the Carolinas. He had several hiding spaces in and around Ocracoke Inlet, where he was eventually killed.
 
In May 1718, Blackbeard and his fleet attacked Charleston, South Carolina. They captured the entrance to the harbor, thus taking merchant ships, slaves, gold- everything they could take, they took.
 
That same year, Blackbeard "retired" and was pardoned by North Carolina Govenor Charles Eden. However, pirate attacks up and down the eastern coast seemed to still have a certain "Blackbeard flair". Virginia Govenor Alexander Spotswood offered a reward of 100 pounds for Blackbeard, and got the Virginia Assembly and British military to go after him.
 
On November 22, 1718, Blackbeard was caught in a surprise attack with British commanders. Face to face with Lieutenant Robert Maynard, a fierce battle ensued. Despite being shot at multiple times, having his neck slashed, and being continually stabbed, Blackbeard continued to fight on. Despite desperate attempts to fight back, Blackbeard eventually fell dead. His head was then cut off and hung on the bowsprit from Lieutenant Maynard's ship.

Each pirate had his own flag. In theory, it meant that mercy would be shown to you if you surrendered without a fight. The most acknowledged pirate flag is the skull and crossbones, which belonged to Edward England.
 
Blackbeard's flag was picture of a horned skeleton holding a hourglass and spear, stabbing a bleeding heart. Traditionally, the hourglass meant that time had run out.

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Edward England's Jolly Roger
 
Blackbeard's Flag

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This picture of Blackbeard is courtesy of www.piratehaven.org.

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