Blackbeard (d. 1718), was an infamous English pirate who operated in the Caribbean and Atlantic during a surprisingly short career lasting just 15 months.

With his long black beard tied with ribbons, lighted fuses under his hat, and bristling with pistols, Blackbeard’s name, reputation, and appearance were all calculated to freeze his victims with dreadful terror.

Thanks largely to a wildly exaggerated and mostly fictional portrait by the author Charles Johnson/Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), Blackbeard became the most colourful of all the pirates of the so-called Golden Age of Piracy.

He is portrayed as a man with no morals or scruples, either towards his innocent victims or his own crews, and as a pirate who got his just deserts when he was killed in action against the Royal Navy, but then only after being struck down by five pistol shots and 20 sword cuts.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge

Nothing of Teach’s early life is known for certain except that he was born in Bristol, England, and spent his early years at sea raiding French and Spanish ships in Jamaican waters during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714). Edward Teach was most likely an assumed name, taken perhaps to hide a dark past. His real name may have been Edward Thatch (Thache) or Thatch Drummond, but these, too, could have been pseudonyms.


From September 1717, Teach served as a captain in the Bahamas under the British pirate Benjamin Hornigold. Their base, like many other pirates, was the island of New Providence. The two men, each commanding a vessel, attacked ships in the Caribbean and off the coast of North America. A notable capture was the Concorde, a French ship on its way to Martinique loaded with gold, coinage, gems, and other precious goods from trading posts in Africa. Teach took over this vessel in November 1717 near St. Vincent. He renamed it the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The now-pirate-ship had three masts and had seen service as a slave ship. It was fitted out with 40 cannons, which equalled the firepower of many naval vessels, and was used to raid the waters of Saint Vincent and Saint Kitts.