Blackbeard, whose real name was likely Edward Teach (or Thatch), is one of the most infamous pirates in history. He terrorized the seas of the early 18th century, particularly the West Indies and the eastern coast of North America. Blackbeard’s legend was built on his fearsome appearance, with his thick, black beard and a reputation for tying slow-burning fuses into his beard and lighting them during battles to create an intimidating, smoke-shrouded visage.
Blackbeard’s pirate career is believed to have begun around 1716 when he joined the crew of Benjamin Hornigold, another notorious pirate. Teach soon earned a fearsome reputation for his audacious acts of piracy. He captured numerous ships, amassed a considerable fortune, and was known for his cruelty, often marooning or killing prisoners.
One of his most famous exploits occurred in 1718 when he blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina, capturing several vessels. This audacious move prompted colonial authorities to send a naval expedition against him.
Blackbeard’s life came to a violent end in a battle off the coast of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, in November 1718 when he was killed in combat with British naval forces led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard. His head was severed, and it was said to have been hung from the bowsprit of Maynard’s ship as proof of his death.
Despite his relatively short career as a pirate, Blackbeard’s name and legend have endured as a symbol of piracy’s golden age, and his story continues to capture the imagination of people around the world.