Monday, February 25, 2013

Fact or Fiction: The History of Blackbeard

Today is day 25 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "Fact or Fiction". Visit Nicky's post to see what the others are claiming as fact or decrying as fiction.

Image Source:  Wikipedia
He was born Edward Teach in Bristol, England, but better known as Blackbeard, the most notorious pirate in all of history.  He was a privateer for Queen Anne, before joining ranks with a crew of pirates which set his life of ruthless piracy and murder in motion.  He captured a French vessel and renamed her Queen Anne's Revenge, although no longer associated with her Majesty.  He became a pirate leader in his own right.

He eventually ended up in the small colonial town of Bath, NC, and lived in fine style after receiving a royal pardon from Governor Charles Eden.  Remember this was before the Revolutionary war and we were still under British rule.  He was welcomed by wealthy planters, and in return, entertained in his own home.  Indeed, piracy was considered a fashionable vice during that era.  He was only a threat at sea, and was, therefore, socially accepted.

Shortly after his arrival, he, the father of 13 children, married his 14th wife, and the Governor performed the ceremony.  As he was already under the Governor's protection, this further suggests that they were friends, and gave credence to the existence of an underground passage way leading well away from the Governor's house.  The tunnel would allow him to come and go without being seen, and also implicated the Governor in taking a share of his loot.

North Carolinians also benefited from Blackbeard, for while he terrorized all at sea, he brought a vast array of goods back to Bath which he sold at reasonable prices. 

Proving just how villainous he was, though, when he wished to court the Governor's daughter, she refused him because he was engaged to another man.  Blackbeard could not stand this rejection and so he murdered her fiance and cut off his hands before disposing of his body at sea.  The girl pined away and died as was fashionable after a broken romance at that time.  

Alas, he soon caught the attention of the wrong man, and the Governor of Virgina, Alexander Spotswood, sent soldiers and sailors to capture Blackbeard.  On November 22, 1718, a group of sailors led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard, captured and killed the infamous pirate.  He was beheaded and his head placed on the mast of Maynard's ship as a warning to other pirates of the fate that awaited them should they continue pirating.

Much of this is documented fact, but since he was the most notorious pirate to sail the high seas, he was also the subject of much speculation and talk became legend.  Which is fact and which is fiction?  You be the judge.

Sources:  Text that was adapted from historian Robert E. Lee's Blackbeard the Pirate: A Reappraisal of His Life and Times.  Winston-Salem:  John Fl Blair, 1974, and Wikipedia.


  1. I adore pirates! I say fact all the way.

  2. Well, I looked at that picture long and hard and am prepared to say it's a fact he had a black beard.

  3. This was so interesting... now I'm gonna have to google Blackbeard! :)

  4. 14 wives is a lot of wives, but it might be true. He was Blackbeard, after all.

    I guess my pirate name would be Bottlebeard.

  5. That is interesting. Who knew??? I, too will be Googling Blackbeard to read more.

  6. I love all of the Blackbeard stories and visiting Okracoke Island to see their itty bitty blackbeard museum.

  7. I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff; I don't care if it's true, it's legendary!

  8. When I grow up, I want to be a pirate. So, it's all true. Or it will be, when I become a pirate.

  9. I think a duel between him and Bluebeard would have been fun.

    Weren't all men of the sea...womanizers? I know - when they landed?

    Personally, I would have put his smelly head on the back of the ship so the wind wouldn't put the smell up on deck.

  10. For some reason I keep reading Blackbeard as 'Blackbread', which i making me hungry.

    I say fact all the way.

  11. Arrrggghhh! Blackbeard was a randy fellow.

  12. I LOVED this.... living in Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks on weekends in the summer.... it is VERY close to home. Didn't know about all those kids and wives!!!

  13. There's so much about this world I just don't know. Thanks for shining a light on something that I should have known about a little sooner. ;)

  14. They say truth is stranger than fiction...and sometimes I think it is true. Regardless, he was a fascinating figure...but he makes me timbers shiver, Linda!

  15. Eeeee arrrrg! The pirates be attacking! ;)

  16. Ziva- Yeah, the Johnny Depp kind. ;)

    Dufus- That he does. It looks like he has pony tails in it.

    life in the mom lane- That's what I did. :)

    MikeWJ- How can you have a beard with no face?

    Cheryl- It is interesting. I'd like to visit the museum laughingmom mentioned.

    laughingmom- Thanks for the tip on the museum.

    Indigo- It does make interesting reading, doesn't it.

    Nicky- I'm sure you'll make a lovely pirate.

    Mariann- I wouldn't want that head on my ship, but I guess it made a point.

    Mike- Blackbread?

    Malisa- I reckon he was.

    Katherine- Practically in your back yard.

    KZ- I'm glad to bring new things to light.

    Talon- Shiver me timbers, too.

    P.J.- Look out matey!

  17. Interesting tale of the sea. Truthfully, I didn't know much about Blackbeard. This was interesting. It's amazing that piracy was considered more of a vice than a crime!

  18. Fact or fiction, it was a very intriguing post. Does Blackbeard have anything to do with The Pirates Of The Caribbean movies? His name sounds so familiar. Hm.

  19. Sara- I learned a lot writing this post. It was a different time back then.

    Alexandra- Parts were fact and parts were fiction (or legend). I don't know about the movie. I think Blackbeard was a much more fierce fellow.


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