(Edward Teach)


Little is known about Edward Teach, better known as the nefarious villain Blackbeard, before he embraced piracy and joined the crew of Benjamin Hornigold in 1716. Distinguished from his crewmates by his audacity and courage, Teach soon acquired his own ship, the infamous Queen Anne’s Revenge, and by the time of his death only two years later, he had become one of the most famous pirates in history. Nicknamed for his thick black beard, Teach relied on his frightening appearance, rather than force, to frighten those he robbed into submission. Contrary to contemporary belief, however, Blackbeard commanded his vessels only with the permission of their crews, and he was never known to harm any of his captives.

Teach’s ships looted several merchant stoops in the Caribbean in late 1717 before meeting and teeming up with another pirate, Stede Bonnet. In March 1718, Teach procured another vessel, Adventure, as well as several small merchant ships, which banded together to loot and burn the Protestant Caesar before blockading the port of Charleston, in South Carolina. Over the next few days, about nine ships were captured and ransacked as they attempted to enter or leave the harbor. One such ship included Samuel Wragg, a member of the Council of the Province of Carolina. Teach imprisoned Wragg and his companions and threatened to execute them unless the pirates were given medical supplies from the South Carolina government. The drugs were delivered, and Blackbeard released the ship and its inhabitants—relieved, of course, of all their possessions and the fine clothing they wore.

In June 1718, Blackbeard, after marooning part of his crew, sought an official pardon from Governor Eden. He settled in Bath and retired for a time before returning to piracy two month later. After several unsuccessful attempts to capture the famous villain, Teach was finally discovered anchored on Ocracoke Island, where he was entertaining guests and therefore not on the lookout for intruders. At daybreak, pirate and pirate-hunter Robert Maynard met in the channel outside the island. In the aftermath of the battle, Maynard’s ship appeared to be deserted, to the captain and crew climbed aboard to pillage all that remained. At that moment, the remainder of the crew, who had been hiding below deck, burst forth from the hold and attacked the pirates. Teach was killed along with ten of his men, thus ending the short-lived reign of Blackbeard over the American coast.

Key events during the life of Blackbeard:

Joined Benjamin Hornigold's pirate crew.
Aquired his own ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Blockaded the port of Charleston, in South Carolina
  Sought a royal pardon from Governor Charles Eden.
  Attacked and killed in battle.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Last Battle of Blackbeard  in  Stories of American Life and Adventure  by  Edward Eggleston
Blackbeard the Pirate  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Great Blackbeard comes upon the Stage  in  Buccaneers and Pirates of Our Coasts  by  Frank R. Stockton

Image Links

 in Stories of American Life and Adventure

Short Biography
Stede Bonnet Respectable colonial merchant who decided to become a pirate.
George I First Hanoverian Monarch of Britain. Entrusted government to Robert Walpole
Mary Read Notorious female pirate, of the Spanish Main.
Captain Kidd Experience sailor who eventually became involved in piracy, and is said to have hid his treasure on Long Island.