Edward Teach (Blackbeard)
Blackbeard's real name is not known. He went by an alias of Edward Teach or Thatch. Blackbeard was his most common nickname. It is beleived he was born in Bristol, England and came to the Caribbean serving as a privateer in Queen Anne's War. He was killed in combat November 22, 1718, near Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. He is considered one of history's most famous pirates, who became an imposing figure in American folklore and is still well-known by his nickname Blackbeard.
Blackbeard, like many pirates began his career as a privateer for the British during Queen Anne's War (also called the War of the Spanish Succession 1701-13), His first reported act as a pirate was late in 1716. The following year he converted a captured French merchantman into a 40-gun warship, "Queen Anne's Revenge," and soon became notorious for outrages along the Virginia and Carolina coasts and in the Caribbean Sea.
Blackbeard was an imposing site. He stood well over six feet tall and was as strong and as big an ox. He was known to be brave and by today's standard was psychotic. It is said that he one time shot his own first mate just so that people would remember how mean he could be. He was also armed with several pistols, knives, and a his cutlass. In battle he would often put matches under his hat or braided into his beard so that it would appear that his head was on fire. Despite the Artilces of Piracy that are often discussed, Blackbeard was a fearsome pirate captain who had absolute rule over his ship. However, he was also quite successful at his trade, so his crew accepted his behavior.
It is rumored that he had as many as fourteen wives which was probably true. Rumors also mention that he murdered them all which probably is not true. It is more likely he just left them when he grew tired of them and married someone else.
In 1718 he established his base in a North Carolina inlet, forcibly collected tolls from shipping in Pamlico Sound, and made a prize-sharing agreement with Charles Eden, governor of the North Carolina colony. At the request of Carolina planters, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, dispatched a British naval force under Lt. Robert Maynard, who, after a hard fight, succeeded in killing Blackbeard.
The pirate's body was decapitated, and his head was affixed to the end of the bowsprit of his ship.
Apart from the luxuriant Blackbeard which earned him his nickname, the most prominent aspect of the Blackbeard legend is his great buried treasure, which has never been found and probably never existed.
On a side note. It is said that Blackbeard was stabbed at least twenty times and shot as many as five times while fighting with Maynard. As the story goes, the two fought in hand to hand combat for as much a forty minutes before Blackbeard finally collapsed due to loss of blood.
It is also claimed that at one time he kept eleven of the most prominent citizens of Charleston as hostage for several days until the city finally paid his ransom demand. His demand? It was a demand for medicine and nothing more. It seems pirates tend to die faster from VD than fighting.