A Little Bit Of Pirate History Blackbeard Lives
Blackbeard lives!NEEL KELLER | Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 12:00 am When Edward Teach -- better known as Blackbeard -- died off Ocracoke Island in November 1718 at the hands of Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard and his detachment of 50 Royal Marines, the world was convinced that the story of the most audacious pirate in history was over. They were wrong.Building on his reputation as a ruthless pirate who showed no mercy to victims seeking to hold back rings, jewelry and other valuable items of plunder, Blackbeard grew out the long dark beard that covered his face beneath his eyes and nose, knotting it and setting fire to the hemp tied to the ends of his beard and beneath his hat -- surrounding his head with dense billows of black smoke that convinced many that he was "the devil himself."At the height of his power and ambition, in May of 1718 Blackbeard blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina with his fleet of ships manned by more than 300 pirates, holding the entire city for ransom. Knowing that this had earned him many powerful enemies, Blackbeard soon made a plea bargain with North Carolina Governor Charles Eden. Surrendering to Eden and promising that he would retire from piracy, Blackbeard received a full pardon, settled in Bath and married the 16-year-old daughter of a local plantation owner -- his 14th wife.It is suspected that the sharing of plunder was an unwritten part of the agreement as well, for Eden looked the other way when Blackbeard quickly returned to his favorite pastime, holing up at his preferred hideout in Ocracoke Inlet and unleashing a new reign of terror.This was only stopped when Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood -- one of Blackbeard's enemies who was still outraged at the blockade of Charleston -- sent Maynard and his Royal Marines to finish off Blackbeard once and for all.Blackbeard was shot at least five times, slashed or stabbed about 20, his head cut off and his corpse thrown into the inlet. Blackbeard's severed head was on display -- swinging from the bowsprit -- when Maynard sailed back into Hampton, VA in January 1719.With most of Blackbeard's crew dead, the survivors stood trial in Williamsburg, where 14 were found guilty and sentenced to be "hanged by the neck until ye shall be dead, dead, dead."Ironically, however, it would appear that Blackbeard -- dead for nearly 300 years -- is now more alive than ever. Celebrated on Ocracoke Island, in Bath and in Beaufort -- where the shipwreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard's flagship, was discovered in 1996 and artifacts are now on display in the N.C. Maritime Museum -- Blackbeard is now the subject of an NBC miniseries set to debut Friday night at 10 p.m.Entitled "Crossbones" and starring John Malkovich, the series is based on Colin Woodard's novel The Republic of Pirates. The book fancifully reinvents -- or tells "the untold story of" -- Blackbeard as a revolutionary who brings together an alliance of some of the most powerful pirate captains to establish a "Pirate Republic" on an island in the Bahamas. As they defy the imperial rulers in Europe, cutting them off from their colonies in the New World, the alliance launches the revolt that ultimately leads to the end of colonialism.The series is set in 1715 on the island of New Providence, where Blackbeard and his allies have established the first democracy in the New World. The threatened European rulers send an assassin to deal with the rebellion. The moral issues are murky -- as are the identities of friend and foe -- in the drama promising a "compelling" combination of action, adventure, intrigue and romance."Purely coincidentally," Sundae Horn told the Sentinel, "a beloved local musical about Blackbeard has just been revived here on Ocracoke Island." Horn, a longtime Ocracoke resident, business owner, member of the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association and columnist for the Ocracoke Current, said that "A Tale of Blackbeard" was written and composed in 1974 by Ocracoke resident Julie Howard.
Kathleen relocated to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and three children from the Philadelphia and Stone Harbor, NJ areas. One of her greatest pleasures is introducing people to the....