Saturday, 17 November 2018 16:16

300th Anniversary of the Demise of Blackbeard: Part II

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Rendering of Blackbeard's Ship "Queen Anne's Revenge" Rendering of Blackbeard's Ship "Queen Anne's Revenge" Public Artwork of AncientOrigins.net

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 the second of the installments.

Blackbeard Part II:  Set Sail for Adventure

But the excitement of warfare had become addictive to Edward.  Changing his surname to Teach, he joined the pirating crew of Captain Benjaimin Honigold in New Providence (Nassau), Bahamas.  His personality traits (Teach was described as “fearless” with a “devil-may-care” attitude) and physical attributes (he was a very large man for his time) served him well in his quest for power and favor from his captain.  

His reward soon came.  After a very successful “hunting expedition” during which Teach was highly instrumental in capturing several lucrative prizes off the coast of Virginia, Captain Hornigold granted Teach’s request to assume command of a French merchantman that had been taken near the Isle of Martinique.  Edward Drummond (aka Teach) was now a ship’s captain.    

Their destination was once again New Providence, but upon arriving in port, some interesting news was learned.  King George was offering clemency to any pirates who would promise to reform their wicked ways of harassment on the high seas.  Captain Hornigold, having grown wealthy from his plundering, decided to accept this entertaining proposition.  Meeting with the newly-appointed governor of the Bahamas, Woodes Rogers, Hornigold went so far as to promise his aid and assistance in apprehending any pirates who remained at-large. 

Edward Teach was one of those who chose to remain a pirate.  Now holding Hornigold in contempt and disdain for his “cowardice,” Teach was determined to separate his name from that of Hornigold and make a reputation for himself.  He immediately re-christened his ship “Queen Anne’s Revenge” and began arming her with no less than forty cannon, an unheard of number for that day and age.  (For comparison purposes, a Royal Navy Man-of-War normally carried no more than thirty cannon.) 

Fully armed and now prepared to attack the largest and best-armed merchant ships, Teach began his career as Blackbeard the Pirate.  His first victim was “The Great Allan,” a merchantman taken off the coast of the Island of St. Vincent.  Blackbeard transferred the valuables over to his own ship, put its crew ashore, and burned “The Great Allan” down to the waterline.

News of this piracy necessitated immediate action by the Royal Navy.  The “Scarborough,” a thirty-gun British man-of-war, was sent to find and destroy “Queen Anne’s Revenge.”  However, upon locating Teach, the Brits were surprised to find that he was quite willing to engage them in direct confrontational battle.  Exchanging broadsides for several hours, it was eventually the navy ship that limped back to port in Barbados, far too damaged to continue the fight.

Thus, after only a relatively short time at sea in his newfound role of unquestioned leader of a group of pirates, Blackbeard’s legacy was now well on its way to making him a household name.  The news that he had bested a British warship in direct combat only served to solidify his fast-growing reputation as a force to be reckoned with at sea.

Last modified on Saturday, 17 November 2018 16:35