6 stories about the pirate Blackbeard
Blackbeard, described by contemporaries almost as a product of hell, was an English pirate who lived in the early 18th century. In addition to a sharp mind and outstanding courage, the pirate mastered the art of creating the "right image" - his very appearance was so terrifying that it gave rise to terrible legends and made daring sailors shake with fear at the mention of his name. It is known that before the attack, Blackbeard wove wax wicks into their hair and set them on fire - and then appeared to the enemy in clouds of smoke and blazing flames, like the Devil himself from the underworld.
1. Blackbeard’s Real Name - Edward Drummond
True, the famous pirate entered the history as Edward Teach (from the English word teach - “teach”). Nothing is precisely known about the childhood and adolescence of a pirate. Some historians say that he was born in one of the poorest quarters of London, others that Jamaica was his birthplace, and his parents were wealthy people.
In his youth, Edward joined the team of Captain Benjamin Hornigold and fought in the war of Britain with France on the side, of course, Britain.The team had the official permission of the British monarch to seize and plunder French ships. The earliest references to Blackbeard are the archives of the logbook on this ship, where a young, courageous, strong and enterprising Edward quickly rose to the boatswain.
But the war is over. The boy never received any money, fame, or career growth, because he was only a boatswain, and at that time the maritime laws were extremely simple: half of the production was for the captain, a third of the balance was for the crown, and the rest was divided equally among all team members . But Captain Hornigold presented the future pirate ship, previously selected from the French in battle. Edward could be engaged in trade, but instead gathered his own team and became a pirate. The ship he equipped 40 military cannons and went to sea.
2. Blackbeard became a pirate because he could not do anything else.
Piracy appeared almost at the same time when the first ships were launched. However, it was legalized much later, in the aftermath of the crusades, because the Muslim rulers had a solid tooth on the Europeans, and there was no other way to take revenge.The seizure of ships and slaves among the "infidels" was strongly encouraged. Europeans quickly adopted this “useful” experience from their enemies.
All that was needed is an adventurous sea wolf - to obtain a robbery license from its state. Anna, the Queen of Great Britain, issued such licenses to everyone. Part of the spoils had to be given to the crown, but the team still got its own, since the true amount of the “income” was easy to hide. Blackbeard had experience of sea battles, but there was no experience of peaceful commerce. Add to this the romantic aura - a victory over enemies, rivers of blood and a daring sea fraternity. So, when the war ended, Tich, who had his own ship by that time, did not want to stop. He was respected for his skill, leadership, courage, and a sharp mind, so to recruit a team of sailors and part-time job thugs was not. In addition, after the war, the licenses for piracy were no longer issued, and here the excitement and risk appetite came into play - paradoxically, the sailors followed Tichy with even greater willingness.
There may be psychological reasons that influenced the choice of the life path of an honest boatswain Edward Drummond, for example, the habit of impunity and the experience of bloody battles.In addition, Tichy's appearance was appropriate - tall stature, a face weathered by sea winds, a disheveled black head of hair and a commonplace speech full of strong expressions.
3. Pirate ship "Blackbeard" was called "Revenge of Queen Anne"
By the time Blackbeard began to rampage at sea, Queen Anne had already died. In addition, England, despite the losses in the war and the naval peace alliance of France and Spain, remained an influential power and had many colonies, in particular, the country inherited the rich lands in North America - Acadia (the current Maine state), the Hudson Valley and vast territories in Canada. So Queen Anne had no revenge, in general, not for that.
Some historians believe that Tich named his ship in honor of another Anna, a noblewoman from the Boleyn family, unjustly executed by her husband, Henry the Eighth, a century and a half before the birth of Blackbeard. The version is interesting, but Tich was, apparently, a practical person, his actions were pursued by very specific goals, so the experienced pirate simply could not succumb to sentimentality.
The most interesting version seems to be the version of the writer and historian Alex Safir: Tich could thus pretendthat he has no idea about the end of the war and is still committing legal actions with the permission of his queen and for the good of his country. The fact is that the news reached the North American colonies slowly - in order to tell the American settlers about the state of affairs in England, it was necessary to cross the Atlantic Ocean, confronting storms and attacks of corsairs on the way. The successor of Anna on the throne was a man - George I - but orders for several years after her death were still issued on behalf of "Her", and not "His Majesty." And the British colonists did not like the Spaniards and the French and called the fighting "Queen Anne's War." Calling his ship that way, and not otherwise, Tych received the appearance of legality of the looting and the sympathy of the colonists (and therefore, could count on cooperation).
By the way, when it was no longer possible to “know” about the queen's death, Tyche did not raise the traditional Jolly Roger over his ship, but used his own flag — an hourglass and a skeleton piercing a bright red heart were depicted on a black field. Depressing, right?
4. "Blackbeard" was not at all such a villain as is commonly thought
Let us turn to the facts.Some documents show that Blackbeard, who terrified honest foreign traders, was not a bloodthirsty maniac. For example, in 1717, at the very beginning of his career, he seized a ship sailing from Bermuda, took away the cargo from the sailors and released the crew along with the ship back home. In this clash no one died.
Later, pirates under the leadership of Ticha attacked even a few merchant ships. They always took the goods, but did not touch the team. In the end, Tych seized the Concorde frigate — this was his famous Queen Anne's Revenge, which was later re-equipped as a flibuster ship. The team landed on the island of Bequia in the Grenadines and left them boats and food.
According to the documents and eyewitness accounts, Blackbeard, a scoundrel and a scoundrel, always tried to avoid bloodshed. If the ships surrendered without a fight, the pirates took away the cargo and part of the provisions from them (less often ships) and released them.
One day Blackbeard seized a ship with high-ranking officials, took them prisoner, and sent a ransom request to interested parties. He did not ask for gold, spices or silk, but only a chest with medicines.Requirements were met, but the boat with the ransom turned over. When this became known, they immediately collected and sent the second one, but time was lost. However, the pirates did not kill the prisoners, but with understanding waited for the ransom, even if several days later than they had expected, and then they let everyone go.
But this is true only for those who have not resisted. If the opponents risked taking the fight, they were killed, and their ship was burned. And in his own team, Tich didn’t break off defiance: those who tried to go against him or incited the sailors to revolt were sent to feed the fish.
There is evidence that in his drunken stupor Blackbeard was extremely eccentric. For example, once, because of a petty quarrel, he put a bullet in the knee of his friend and ally, Handling, as a result of which he remained disabled for the rest of his life. On another occasion, he decided to show the team that after death, hell awaits them - he locked the sailors in the hold and set it on fire. Some were burned, others suffocated.
5. A reward of 100 British pounds was awarded for the head of Blackbeard.
Blackbeard raged on the sea for more than five years. It may seem that this is not so long, but the pirate profession is fraught with many risks - the persecution of the authorities, the sharp temper of the sailors, the sea storms, finally.And Blackbeard was, firstly, almost invincible, and secondly - elusive. He caused significant damage to the economy, and the authorities of South Carolina indulged him: there is evidence that an agreement was signed with the governor: the pirate received a stable market for the loot, and the governor received a lot of money in his own pocket. Moreover, the pirate captain was able to acquire personal property in the state of the land, married and healed as a decent person. True, not for long - he soon went out again into the sea, captured a huge booty and gave the team a grand celebration at its own expense, on which more than two hundred pirates walked for almost a week. The authorities swallowed this too, and then Teach began to build his own fort.
It must be said that by that time it had become somewhat lazy - it had ceased to go out into the open sea, and it was mainly in the inland waters of the continent, the river beds and the bays. The merchants, tired of the tyranny and the governor closing on all eyes, appealed for help to their neighbor - the vice-governor of the province of Virginia, Alexander Spottswood. He tried to intimidate Tich, but this led nowhere.The intervention of Stopwood in the affairs of the neighboring state could not be considered legitimate, and he could not give orders to bypass his immediate superiors, the Governor of Virginia, George Hamilton.
Anyway, Stopwood somehow managed to negotiate with the Royal Navy lieutenant Maynard. On November 22, several ships under the direction of Maynard set sail, met Tich and ... won the battle quite easily. After all the pirates from the Ticha team were executed absolutely. The victory is even more surprising because of the fact that Maynard, for some reason, forgot to load the guns onto his ships before leaving the sea, while the pirates on board had heavy long-range guns.
Before the fight, Maynard ordered most of the team to descend into the hold in order to avoid the effects of the volley. Blackbeard realized that there were no guns, he saw that there were only a dozen sailors left on the deck, and ordered a boarding game. And from the hold unexpectedly came another five dozen people. For some reason, the pirates were confused, and the soldiers of Maynard coped with them without much loss. Tich, according to the testimony, alone took the fight and was shot from rifles.
6Legends say that Blackbeard hid a huge treasure that no one has yet managed to find.
For a pirate who, in his career, robbed more than fifty merchant ships, Blackbeard lived modestly. Neither his house, nor the allotment of land, nor any other property were striking with special luxury - for example, the possessions of the landowner of the middle arm. Stolen good could not disappear without a trace - however, it disappeared. There is a legend that the untold treasures of the captain of the pirates are hidden in some place, on a certain “Treasure Island” (it was about him that Stevenson wrote his novel). This theory, though romantic, is not supported by anything. Tich was a public figure, all the time was in sight and hide the money on the island so that no one from the team or closest associates could see, he had no opportunity. So, most likely, the pirate, being a stupid man, simply invested all his money "in business" - perhaps he gave loans, sold something to dealers, hid something from trusted representatives.
After the death of Blackbeard, his home and island, where he had been most often, were explored by treasure hunters along and across. No one found anything.