Edward Teach was born around 1680 (possibly in Bristol, England). Very little is known of his early “non-seafaring” life. Some historians speculate that Teach was born to a wealthy and respected family, while others state he came from much poorer beginnings. Irregardless of his past, like most young men of the Era, his sense of adventure drew him into a life of a sailor. He joined The British Navy, just in time for Queen Anne's War (1702-1713). There he learned his craft in battle against Spanish Privateers. As with most sailors, after the war, he ended up in Jamaica (The Caribbean) – out of work (although it is sketchy as to just how Teach got out of the Royal Navy – it is possible he was mustered out). Around 1716, Teach joined the Pirate Crew of Captain Benjamin Hornigold and his “Fleet”. His skill and daring earned him command of one of Hornigolds Sloops “The Adventure”. One of his more famous “raids” against French shipping earned him the Frigate “La Concorde” (herself a captured vessel from The English as “HMS Concord”.
Teach set about rearming her (to 40 guns) and renamed her .”Queen Anne's Revenge”.nBy this time, Teach commanded 3 ships and commenced with highly successful raids in the Caribbean Seas. He expanded his attacks to the Coast of Florida (US) – to raid against Spanish interests and even blockaded the Port of Charleston, South Carolina (US) – for ransom! By now, Teach's “infamy” was widely known throughout Europe and The New World Colonies. Teach was also a master at psychological warfare. Known for his “elegant dress”, he was also noted to be a very tall man (over 6 foot) with a jet black “mane of hair and daring beard”. This “visage” of the man would give him his nickname – Blackbeard! Known for his “occasional” wearing of shortened “slow matches” tied into his beard with ribbon (and lit!), Blackbeard would present a fearsome appearance to his enemies. Extremely successful (and apparently unstoppable by The Royal Navy), Blackbeard was offered a pardon (as a means of stopping his activity). It worked – temporarily.
Settling in North Carolina (US), he wrecked and scuttled “Queen Anne's Revenge”. However, in the few years of his residence, numerous ships along The American Coast went missing or were found abandoned. Local Authorities blamed Blackbeard (true or not). A warrant was issued for his arrest, and he quickly set about his previous “vocation”. British Naval Officer Lieutenant Robert Maynard and HMS “Jane” and “Ranger” set about the capture of Blackbeard (who now had a substantial bounty on his head). Blackbeard, commanding “Adventure”, engaged the British Warships on November 22, 1718. In true “pirate fashion” a heated broadsides battle ensued between the three vessels. Eventually, “Adventure” overtook “Jane” and the fighting went hand to hand. Cutlass and musket fire ripped into the close quarters groups fighting on deck. Who exactly killed Blackbeard is a matter of contention. When his body was examined, it was determined that he had been shot 5 times and cut (by sword) some 20 times (including a throat slash) – BEFORE he finally died!.
Lieutenant Maynard cut off Blackbeard's head and mounted it on The“Janes” forward Bowsprit (for all to see). Unfortunately for Maynard, the Bounty was for the ENTIRE body of Blackbeard. It took him 4 years to collect the Bounty. Many of Blackbeard's surviving crew were imprisoned in the Virginia Colony. Some were executed, some released. Historically (and somewhat romantically), Blackbeard has been made an icon of sorts. Most of his reputation (while no doubt well deserved), has been slightly colored to reflect the “evils of Piracy”. Although not the most prolific of his kind, he certainly became one of the most written about in history.