Friday, 16 November 2018 18:19

300th Anniversary of the Demise of Blackbeard: Part I

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Engraving of Blackbeard the Pirate Engraving of Blackbeard the Pirate Published (1724) by Captain Charles Johnson: A History of the Pyrates (sic).

The 300th Anniversary of the Demise of Blackbeard

Thanksgiving Day will just happen to mark the 300th anniversary of one of the most historical “battles” to have ever occurred in North Carolina.  While certainly not of the same magnitude of Guilford Courthouse or Bentonville, the ultimate demise of Blackbeard the Pirate came to pass in Ocracoke Inlet on November 22nd of 1718.

Given the perpetual interest regarding pirates in general (and Blackbeard in particular), the Richmond Observer offers a series of articles chronicling the life and times of arguably the most recognized (if not indeed the most nefarious) pirate of all time.  This is Part I of a series.

Blackbeard Part I: Nature vs. Nurture - Born to be a Pirate or Environmental Influences?

What’s in a name?  Would you be reading this piece if we had entitled it “The Life and Times of Ed Drummond”?  Probably not. 

It would likely draw more attention via citing the “Edward Teach” moniker; some of you more astute historians would recognize that name, despite the fact that the accuracy of that nomenclature also remains subject to debate. 

Records have it listed to be sometimes spelled as “Thatch, Tache, or Tatch,” but none of these “names” were of any real consequence for the notorious pirate at any point during his adult life.  Regardless, though, there is no doubt that you knew exactly of whom we were writing when you saw “Blackbeard” as part of the title.

Similar to most pirates, Blackbeard’s origins are relatively obscure.  Edward Drummond was born in Bristol, England around 1680 but little is known of his childhood.  It was reported that he was seemingly a relatively bright and articulate lad, but Ed was otherwise not too unlike his brethren of the area. 

Bristol was ignominiously saddled with the claim to fame that, of all the port towns in England, it had provided the greatest number of maritime ne’er do wells in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

We are a product of our environment, so … Ed took to the sea at an early age, beginning as a loyal and dedicated (and seemingly honest) seaman. 

He was enlisted as an active participant in the Royal Navy during Queen Anne’s War with the French from 1701 – 1713, and was later registered as a “privateer” (i.e., legal pirate during times of war) for the latter stages of that conflict. 

Stationed in Kingston, Jamaica, it was Ed’s job to assist in the overtaking and plundering of enemy vessels, and he did so without fear of official reprisal from any military or legal authorities. 

Of course, with the end of the war, so, too, came the end of this enthralling type of legalized “oceanic adventures.” 

What was a man of the sea to do now?

Tomorrow:  Blackbeard Part II:  The Legacy Commences

Last modified on Monday, 26 November 2018 19:16