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It is a well-known fact that piracy is rather romanticized nowadays, but according historical noted pirates always terrorized the world’s seas killing innocent people and robbing wealthy merchants. Actually, pirates were the only men people were afraid of so much. People terrorizing the seas were called pirates, privateers and buccaneers. The notorious pirates were Jean Lafitte, Ann Bonny, Black Sam Bellamy, Stede Bonnet, and Bartholomew Roberts. These names are claimed to be some of the most feared names in the history of piracy.
These names belonged to pirates who terrorized the world’s seas during the 16-17th century during the Golden Age of Piracy. (Cordingly 1997) Nevertheless, the most notorious pirate of those times was Blackbeard who was said to terrorize the Caribbean seas during the mentioned era. The Golden Age of Piracy was a period when people felt unsafe at the sea and Blackbeard was the main reason for that fear. Historians mention that Blackbeard is considered the most ruthless and merciless pirate of all times. His reputation was partly due to his ugly appearance, partly of his pitiless treatment of women, hostages, crew and partly to his brutal death.
(Pendrand 1975) The Pirate’s Legend Blackbeard is better known as Edward Teach. He was a cruel English pirate who terrorized Caribbean seas and the western Atlantic during the end of 17th and early 18th centuries. Blackbeard’s best know vessel is the Queen Anne’s Revenge and it was observed near the Beaufort Inlet in North Carolina. However, there is an interesting question appears: why Blackbeard? According the legend, Edward got his nickname because of long and thick dark beard. Moreover, his appearance was able to frighten even the most courageous warriors.
In those times men didn’t wear bears and, therefore, Edward’s beard frightened them as it was grizzly and dark. Blackbeard’s hair was also long and is claimed to be brained into the pigtails – some were tied with coloured ribbons, whereas others were swept behind the ears. For example, Cordingly writes that “Captain Teach assumed cognomen of Blackbeard, from that large quantity of hair, which, like a frightful meteor, covered his whole face and frightened America more than any comet that has appeared there along time”.
(Cordingly, 13) Historians say when Blackbeard was about to attack a ship, he took with him all assortment of pistols, a broad cutlass and different daggers. However, appearance was his most frightening weapon. Historians also report that Blackbeard had hemp and lit matches in black beard during every battle as it gave him additional strength and power over others. People who say Blackbeard fighting stressed that he looked like a Devil – his face was fearsome clouded in smoke around his head. (Gosse 2007)
Speaking about Blackbeard’s real name, it is necessary to underline that Edward Teach is only considered to be his real name. For example, in some historical notes he is referred to as Edward thatch and Edward Drummond. His possible birthplace is in Bristol and in some documents in London, Jamaica or even Philadelphia. However, all agree that he went to sea when he was a small boy. Firstly, he served in the War of the Spanish succession on one of the English ships, and then he terrorized Spanish West Indies.
After war was ended in 1713, Teach decided t turn to piracy. During many years Blackbeard terrorized seas plundering merchant ships and robbing them. During such attacks, pirates tried to seize all valuable things from food to weapons and drinks. One interesting fact that there are no notifications that Blackbeard killed anyone despite his notorious reputation. Maybe he only prevailed by fear. (Perry 2006) Nevertheless, contemporary newspapers and vivid legends show him committing merciless acts of killing and rapping.
For example, according one legend Blackbeard even killed his first mate simply because he would loose his reputation is he killed nobody during the day. Another legend announced that Blackbeard was, simply saying, a drunkard. Therefore, truth is buried in the passed centuries. Further, Blackbeard’s quarters were situated in Bahamas and Carolinas, whereas he preferred to live on the island of Nassau and called that island “Privateers Republic”. Blackbeard received unofficial protection from the governor Charles Eden. (Ramsager 2006) Death of the Legend
When Blackbeard retired he didn’t know that he was fated to notorious death. The governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, got to know that Edward Teach lived nearby and decided to do his best to eliminate notorious freebooter, even if he lived beyond Spotswood’s jurisdiction. It is known that Blackbeard often operated in coastal waters and, therefore, ships could hardly engage him in mortal battle. Thus, it was decided to send two smaller sloops under the command of Lieutenant Maynard. Blackbeard was to be hunt down and killed. A reward of 100 pounds was offered as well. (Gosse 2007)
On November 11, 1718 Lieutenant sailed from James River with his crew from HMS Pearl and with other men from HMS Lyme, the hired troops were the Jane and Ranger. Blackbeard and his pirates were found anchored in North Caroline near the Ocracoke Island. However, Maynard didn’t attack the pirates; instead, he decided to wait till the next day simply because the tide would be the most favourable for his crew. Blackbeard had only 19 men with on his “Adventure”. Nevertheless, Blackbeard knew inlet better than Maynard and such knowledge was much of help for him, but he was drinking hard the previous night.
Blackbeard was waiting for Maynard throughout the night, but nobody attacked him. When Maynard’s sloops were able to move freely, he began to approach Blackbeard, but the wind was not strong enough. Finally, Maynard reached Blackbeard’s ship and faced devastating attack in which the captain HMS Jane was killed with more than six other men. More than ten people were seriously wounded, but Maynard continued to pursue Blackbeard trying to force it ashore. Maynard’s crew was ordered to go into the holds and wait till boarding.
When Blackbeard approached, he saw empty decks thinking it was safe to board. But it was a fatal mistake. Finally Blackbeard and Maynard began the mortal fight with their swords. Firstly, Blackbeard wounded Maynard, but he was not disabled. Instead, Maynard threw away his sword and wounded Teach from pistol. That moment Demelt, one of the crew members, struck in the fight with his sword and cut Blackbeard’s fearsome face. So, Blackbeard died of serious blood loss. Then, Lieutenant Maynard cut off his head which was hung from the boat.
It is reported that Blackbeard was shot five times from the pistol and stabbed with the dagger more than twenty times. (Perry 2006) Conclusion It is necessary to note that history has romanticized Edward Teach the Blackbeard. For example, some contemporary engravings portray him with the smoking lit ends, he also became the main hero of many children books and adventure films, and in many of them he is showed as positive character or even a hero. The history of Blackbeard is wrapped up in many mysteries, and, one of them, for example, claims that Blackbeard buried robbed treasure.
During American Revolution – desperate and difficult times – many ignorant and credulous people tried to dig along the banks searching for Reach’s treasures. Nevertheless, the truth is apparent – Blackbeard was a ruthless and merciless pirate who terrorized seas and robbed merchants. His appearance was much of help for him, as well as his beard which made him famous all over the world. Blackbeard’s ship is believed to be discovered bear Beaufort and it is now a part of tourism attractions. (Gosse 2007) Works Cited Cordingly, David.
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life among the Pirates. USA: Harvest Books, 1997. Gosse, Phillip. The History of Piracy. UK: Dover Maritime Books, 2007. Pendrand, Norman. Blackbeard: The Fiercest Pirate of All. USA: Harvest Books, 1975. Perry, Dan. Blackbeard: The Real Pirate of the Caribbean. UK: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2006. Ramsager, Henry. Blackbeard: the Man, the Beard, Real Pirates of the Caribbean. 2006. Available at http://latinamericanhistory. suite101. com/article. cfm/blackbeard Accessed January 11, 2008.