Edward Teach (c. 1680 – 22 November 1718), better known as Blackbeard, was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies. Although little is known about his early life, he was likely born in Bristol, England. He may have been a sailor on privateer ships during Queen Anne’s War before settling on the Caribbean island of New Providence, a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold, whose crew Teach joined sometime around 1716. Hornigold placed him in command of a sloop he had captured, and the two engaged in numerous acts of piracy. Their numbers were boosted by the addition to their fleet of two more ships, one of which was commanded by Stede Bonnet, but toward the end of 1717 Hornigold retired from piracy, taking two vessels with him.
Teach captured a French merchant vessel, renamed her Queen Anne’s Revenge, and equipped her with 40 guns. He became a renowned pirate, his cognomen derived from his thick black beard and fearsome appearance; he was reported to have tied lit fuses under his hat to frighten his enemies. He formed an alliance of pirates and blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina. After successfully ransoming its inhabitants, he ran Queen Anne’s Revenge aground on a sandbar near Beaufort, North Carolina. He parted company with Bonnet, settling in Bath Town, where he accepted a royal pardon. But he was soon back at sea and attracted the attention of Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia. Spotswood arranged for a party of soldiers and sailors to try to capture the pirate, which they did on 22 November 1718. During a ferocious battle, Teach and several of his crew were killed by a small force of sailors led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard.
A shrewd and calculating leader, Teach spurned 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 is no known account of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held captive.
From an old Salt in a tavern, you hear this about Blackbeard:
Blackbeard sails a massive Man of War called The Destroyer. It is said he was mortally wounded in an epic battle against British soldiers on Earth, but his loyal crew managed to flee with him to safety. They sailed into a great storm to lose their pursuers and wound up in the Devil’s Cross.
They say as Blackbeard lay dying, the Sea Hags sensed an opportunity. They appeared to the pirate and offered him eternal life—if he would sacrifice his crew to them. Blackbeard didn’t hesitate for a moment. He shocked his mates with his assent and the Sea Hags began to ravage the unfortunate souls.
As part of the bargain, some say Blackbeard is immortal and ageless as long as he remains aboard the Destroyer. But he has slain many a man off his ship that its I’d not believe that meself. He is a demon be it land or sea, if ye ask me. His crew is no longer among the livin’ but they will kill ye just the same.