10 Fun Facts You Never Knew About The Pirate Blackbeard
Perhaps no pirate is as famous, or should we say infamous, than Blackbeard. For better or worse, Blackbeard plied the waters of the Outer Banks and coastal North Carolina. A colorful character steeped in mystery, he is also one of the most intriguing characters to visit the Outer Banks. Maybe even he knew how special a visit to the OBX was?
1. He Captured His Flagship
Blackbeard's famous ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was first a French slave ship called the La Concorde. On November 28, 1717, Blackbeard and two of his sloops found the French ship about a 100 miles off the coast of Martinique. Although outgunned, Blackbeard had an advantage in numbers. The fight was short and resulted in the capture of La Concorde which was then renamed and became Blackbeard's flagship.
2. Meet Edward Teach or Is it Thatch?
As fun as it would be to think that Blackbeard was given that famous name at birth, history tells us different.
Historians continue to disagree on what Blackbeard's given name was. However, all agree it was likely Thatch or Teach (or similar spelling). Most historians agree he was born and raised in the area in or around Bristol, England. Blackbeard was educated, could read and write well. Historians agree he was likely raised in a middle class or wealthy family.
Pirates often changed their names for the same reason modern outlaws do. It is also commonly believed it was done to protect his family. There are more mysteries than answers but one thing is for sure, Blackbeard came into this world as a bouncing baby boy named Edward.
3.There Is No Buried Pirate Booty
Despite popular belief, pirates didn't bury their treasure. In fact, there is only one documented case of a pirate burying his treasure. Wlliam Kidd buried treasure on Gardiners Island, NY. Of course, as luck was not with him, it was soon recovered and used in his trial. If only there had been Swiss Bank Accounts back then.
Want a treasure hunt? Click here to view our interactive map of properties.
4. Even Blackbeard Loved Ocracoke Island
Reportedly in September or October of 1718, the famous pirate Charles Vane sailed to Bath, NC to meet with Blackbeard with a plan to attack the island of Nassau. The two leaders convened on Ocracoke Island where Blackbeard's men had a large encampment. And, as pirates are wont to do they partied for days. If you would like to check out Ocracoke Island during your OBX beach vacation, check out our previous post: 10 Reasons Why You Need To Visit Ocracoke Island.
5. Even Pirates Try To Retire
After his flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, sank Blackbeard attempted to settle down in Bath, NC. This small coastal community welcomed the former pirate. After all, pirates are excellent dinner company. He married a local woman and soon received a pardon from then Governor Eden. However, retirement is often slow, and one day he went out to sea only to return with loot from a French ship he swore was abandoned.
6. His Flag or Maybe Not.
Despite popular belief, there appears to be little evidence that Blackbeard ever flew the flag he is so well known for. In his book Jolly Rogers: The True History of Pirate Flag, historian E.T. Fox notes there is no record of Blackbeard using such a flag and no record of such a flag exists before 1912. However, it is a great flag and popular here on the OBX.
7. Virginia Isn't Always for Lovers
Despite his friendly relationship with Governor Eden of North Carolina, Blackbeard was despised by Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood. Spotswood sent an armed armada to find and destroy Blackbeard. Ultimately his ships found the pirate off of Ocracoke Island and attacked. Blackbeard was present on one of his smaller vessels, the Adventure. During the battle Blackbeard was killed. His humiliation had only just begun.
8. Life On A Spike
Life for a pirate during the 1700's was rough and justice was brutal. After being found by Spotwood's ships, commanded by Robert Maynard, Blackbeard was killed in the ensuing battle. He suffered several gunshot wounds and ultimately his body was taken into British custody. His head was then placed on a spike at the intersection to the Hampton and James Rivers in Virginia as a warning to other pirates. Talk about tough on crime!
9. He Had A Flair For The Dramatic
After terrorizing the east coast and capturing 15 ships in 1717 alone, it isn't hard to see how Blackbeard's fierce reputation grew day by day. One account says he used matches under his hat!
A General History of Pirates, published in 1724, “In time of action, he… stuck lighted matches under his hat, which appearing on each side of his face, his eyes naturally looking fierce and wild, made him altogether such a figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a fury, from hell, to look more frightful.”
10. The Queen Anne's Revenge Was Found In North Carolina
In November of 1996, a private salvage company discovered the remains of the Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of Beaufort, NC. Several cannons and other artifacts were recovered. The mystery didn't end there however, and to this day there is some controversy about whether the remains discovered, were actually the Queen Anne's Revenge. It makes great summer reading for you history buffs.
Want to find out more about Blackbeard? Book your Outer Banks beach vacation today and enjoy our rich history, pristine beaches, and family-friendly activities that the whole family is sure to love. Call today at (866) 760-3526 and speak with one of our friendly reservationists or click the button below.