The notorious Blackbeard, whose real name was Edward Teach, was an English pirate that is quite possibly the most feared pirate in history. During 1716 to 1718, Blackbeard terrorized the east coast of colonial America and the Caribbean and showed no mercy to unsuspecting victims. His French merchant ship was named Queen Ann’s Revenge, and his fearsome demeanor inspired his popularity in the new world.
His most noteworthy act of piracy was the blockade of Charles Town in South Carolina. Now known as Charleston, SC the blockade occurred in May 1718 when Blackbeard captured a group of wealthy English citizens and held them for ransom until the government agreed to provide medical supplies to his crew. Not too long later, Blackbeard accidently ran the Queen Ann’s Revenge aground and destroyed her. Some say it was actually not an accident, but on purpose as Blackbeard wanted to give rid of some of his crew. Once the ship was aground and all was lost, Blackbeard abandoned the destroyed Revenge and only took a few men with him on a small sloop.
As irony would have it, Blackbeard was given and accepted a pardon in June 1718. However, instead of retiring from his risky profession, Blackbeard continued to wreak havoc and began cohorting with fellow pirate Charles Vane. Pirate hunters were even sent by the government to disband this alliance, but Blackbeard and Vane evaded capture.
Navy Lieutenant James Maynard of the HMS Pearl caught up with Blackbeard off the North Carolina coast by surprising the pirates from their sleep at sunrise. A brutal fight ensued which the pirates appeared to be winning, but ultimately Maynard prevailed. The key to success was that he had many crew hidden below deck that overpowered the pirates when they tried to board the ship. After a long and hard battle, Blackbeard was was slashed with a sword across the neck by one of Maynard’s men. With bad wounds, he was rendered vulnerable and subsequently and killed by several more of Maynard’s crew. The remaining pirates realized they were outnumbered and therefore quickly surrendered. So ends the life of Blackbeard, one of history’s most feared and famous pirates.