The strongest quality Blackbeard had were his ability to terrify others. He had a long black beard that would cover his whole face giving him a very menacing appearance. He is known for being one of the most notorious and deadly pirates of his time.
A pirate ship’s cannon fires a warning blast. The explosion rocks a nearby merchant ship. Musket balls fly. Grenades explode. A wounded helmsman staggers. He lets go of the ship’s wheel, and the ship swings around crazily. Flames flicker everywhere. Pistols fire. Pirates, screaming threats, board the merchant ship, swinging axes and cutlasses (short, curved swords). Hissing through his teeth, Blackbeard—one of the most dreaded pirates who ever lived—jumps to the deck. “
This is what many people feared while embarking on any kind of sea voyage around the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean in the early 18th century. Sailors, merchants, and travelers alike had to be prepared for a possible attack. The time period of 1689 through 1718 is considered somewhat of a golden age for pirates. It was a very real threat that was faced if you were traveling by ship. Precaution was the priority before such a journey; however, pirates were usually very heavily armed and able to take control of weaker vessels they spotted out in the waters.
The pirate Blackbeard had made quite a name for himself over a two-year period. He is known for being one of the most notorious and deadly pirates of his time. Blackbeard’s real name is thought to be Edward Teach; although, there are some arguments on the last name. Some historians make the claim that “Teach” is not the correct spelling. They say it is in fact written as Thatch or Thache; moreover, the name is also thought to be simply an alias as a way to protect Blackbeard’s family. Pirates’ using fictitious surnames was not uncommon. They would do this so they could obtain their “fortune” and return without blemishing their families’ name. There really is not any record of the man Blackbeard was prior to him turning to piracy after being a privateer during the Spanish Succession (1701-1713).
He was an Englishmen thought to be born somewhere around 1680 in one of England’s towns called Bristol. He would eventually find himself operating around the West Indies and the Americas, looting ships and stealing like any pirate captain would. Despite all the various unknowns behind Blackbeard, the man was obviously educated because he had the ability to read and write. Upon his death, several papers were found on him that supports this fact.
Blackbeard would eventually turn away from privateering and meet a pirate captain named Benjamin Hornigold. It would not take long for the two men to strike up a friendship. Blackbeard would start working under Hornigold’s command in 1716. He would sail around the American mainland from a pirate province in the West Indies. The ships they captured would typically be holding cargo ranging from things such as flour and wine to more valuable items. These include silk and gold bullion, which is gold in its raw material form. The pirates would take anything they could from the ships the looted. This would include food, ammo, weapons, and anything of use.
It would not take long before Blackbeard would become his own pirate captain. While sailing to the French island of Martinique, a large merchant vessel would be taken over by Hornigold’s men. This ship, in particular, was now in the control of Blackbeard as its captain. He would rename it Queen Anne’s Revenge. It would not be long after this that Hornigold would retire from pirating altogether by receiving the King’s pardon. The appointed governor of the Bahamas, Captain Wood Rogers, was given the power to pardon the crime of piracy. The only condition was that they changed their behavior and gave up their criminal activity.
This was a decision Hornigold made for himself; however, Blackbeard was just beginning his career and had no intention of giving up piracy.
The strongest quality Blackbeard had were his ability to terrify others. He had a long black beard that would cover his whole face giving him a very menacing appearance. He would twist his beard into braids and before he went into a fight, hemp rope would be tucked into his hair drenched in saltpeter. The long hemp ropes would slowly burn after lit providing quite an effect. The bales of smoke would rise up from Blackbeard’s face making him seem as deadly as his reputation implied he was.
The beard and smoke along with his well-known booming voice were terrifying to people he came across. The notorious pirate captain would also have tons of weapons on hand. He would have multiple pistols tied around his waist in holsters, swords, and knives hanging off his back. He literally struck fear into all who met him. Blackbeard was given the reputation of a monster during his two-year career in piracy. As stated previously he was a greatly feared pirate captain who was also highly intelligent.
SUGGESTED READING LINKS:
- Blackbeard: America’s Most Notorious Pirate written by Wiley
- Blackbeard the Pirate: A Reappraisal of His Life and Times written by Blair
- Blackbeard: The Life and Legacy of History’s Most Famous written by PirateCreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform