Friday, 19 June 2015

Fun Facts About the Pirate - Blackbeard

Image result for blackbeardFun Facts About the Pirate - Blackbeard.
When we think of pirates, apart from Johnny Depp, we think of the fearsome Blackbeard, an infamous English pirate who sailed the West Indies and the east coast of the American colonies.

1. Blackbeard wasn't his real name. Yep, kinda sounds obvious. You have got to be some kind of deranged parent to name your darling little baby, Blackbeard. His real name was Edward Thatch, or Edward Teach.

2. Edward Teach was born in or around 1680, and in or around the English city of Bristol. There really isn't much to go on when it comes to Edward Teach's early life. We do know he was born as a baby which had an extraordinary amount of facial hair, even for a baby from Bristol, which is saying something.

3. Blackbeard could read and write. Now, I know what you're thinking. Big deal? Well, it actually was at the time. Education back then wasn't as freely available as it is today. This means we could assume Edward Teach, "if that's even your real name," was born into a reasonably respectable and wealthy family.

We know he could read and write as he communicated with merchants, made contracts, and when he was killed, he had a letter addressed to him from the Chief Justice and Secretary of the Province of Carolina.

4. Teach originally came to the Caribbean on a merchant ship. He sailed out of Jamaica on privateer ships during Queen Anne's Wars and had a reputation for distinguishing himself in battle.

Image result for blackbeard5. In 1716, Teach joined the crew of one of the most feared pirates in the Caribbean, Benjamin Hornigold. Teach showed his abilities again, and was soon promoted. Hornigold commandeered another ship, giving command to Teach.

6. In 1717, Hornigold accepted a pardon and retired, leaving his ship to Edward Teach.

7. Edward Teach was transformed into Blackbeard the pirate. His reputation grew, rapidly. He had become the loveable rogue as he is known today: Crazy, lunatic, murdering, pirating, Blackbeard.

8. Edward Teach had been a pirate for years when he captured a large French merchant vessel called La Concorde. He renamed the ship the Queen Anne's Revenge, refitted it from head to toe, stern to bow, and installed 40 guns.

9. For the next few years, Teach pirated the living daylights out of anything and everything he could. Movies, music, Game of Thrones. He didn't care what he pirated. His reputation for ruthlessness spread and soon every ship that sailed the seven seas, and some rivers, and a few bathtubs, feared him.

Image result for blackbeard10. The guy was actually crazy. And I really do mean Nutso-Whacko-Jacko crazy. To give an example, he tied lit fuses under his hat to frighten his enemies. Seriously, lit fuses. They go Kaboom. "You were only supposed to blow the bloody hat off."

11. Teach hated using force and generally didn't. He let his reputation speak for itself. Most of his prey surrendered quickly once they found out who they were up against. In fact, there is no known record of him ever killing any of his captives. The guy was a pussycat. Although, seriously, lit fuses on your hat? Bonkers.

12. Near to the end, he formed an alliance with other pirates and they blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina. After the Pirate Group had ransomed the townsfolk for all they could get, Teach decided to call it a day.

Image result for blackbeard13. He sailed the Queen Anne's Revenge aground on a sandbar and retired with a royal pardon.

14. The quiet life didn't agree with him, though. He returned to sea, as it's a pirate's life for me. Yo-Ho-Ho, and a bottle of rum, me matey.

15. He was killed on the 22nd November 1718 after a ferocious battle of battles. His ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was sunk and lost to the sea.

Bonus Round
Cannons fired through the morning mist lighting up the fog with splashes of red fire. A deafening silence crossed the water as everyone held their breath. They knew the carnage that followed those flashes.

They were dead.

Every single one of them.

A second later, the silence was broken. Thunder raged between the ships. Bang after bang. The enemy were relentless in their attack. The cannons kept firing. There was no time to get to their own guns.

The cannonballs slammed into the ship. It lurched to the side with each impact. Timbers exploded sending wooden splinters cutting through the air, and anyone nearby.

The crew cried out, screams of agony slicing the air with the sound of death. A moment later, they were muffled by the explosions and forgotten. 

"Fight to the last," he said.

Teach would. He was crazy. Batshit crazy. He fell amidships, a sword in his hand, another in his belly. The small forced had boarded in the chaos, hidden by the smoke and fog. 

Teach looked up at the blade protruding from his own amidships, and then beyond at Lieutenant Robert Maynard. "You have killed me, Sir."

Maynard nodded. "You are relieved, Captain. To Davy Jones locker, you go."

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