July 12, 2021

#08-107: Blackbeard the Pirate

engraving of a man striking a pose, stick in hand; his beard is braided, he wears pirate's clothes, and the background is a seaport

Note: The pirate Edward Teach, known as "Blackbeard," is remarkably famous considering that his career spanned only two years!

Get Ready: What do you know about pirates and pirate lore?

This is the story of the English pirate Edward Teach. Or Thatch. Or Tack. Or maybe Drummond. Actually, we'll never know, because a pirate usually goes by a pseudonym to protect his family's honor.

But one of Teach's captives, in a deposition after his release, described Teach as a "tall spare man with a very black beard which he wore very long." This is the source of his nickname: Blackbeard. (His beard was later described as being braided into pigtails, sometimes tied with small colored ribbons!)

Operating first out of Jamaica and later the Bahamian pirate isle of New Providence, he was a true "Pirate of the Caribbean." But despite his reputation as a ferocious fighter, he is never known to have killed or even harmed a captive.

In June of 1718, having commanded a flotilla comprising several ships and hundreds of men, Teach received a pardon from Charles Eden, British Governor of North Carolina. He settled down in the town of Bath, North Carolina, and may have married the daughter of a local plantation owner, but by the end of August he had returned to his old "trade."

Teach and other pirates were carousing at that time. Meanwhile, some of his former crew were settling down in towns in Virginia, attracting the attention of that colony's Governor Alexander Spotswood, who issued a proclamation: all former pirates were to register their residence, give up all arms, and travel only in groups of three or fewer.

In November, Spotswood sent out Lieutenant Robert Maynard of the British Royal Navy to capture Teach. On the morning of the 22nd, in a battle which started with broadsides and ended in hand-to-hand fighting, Teach was killed after boarding Maynard's vessel.

When Maynard later had a chance to examine Teach's body, he discovered Teach had been shot five times and cut around twenty. The fatal blow was likely a slash to the throat. Maynard then beheaded the corpse, threw the body into the water, and sailed back to his home port with the severed head of Blackbeard dangling from the bowsprit of his ship in order to claim the bounty.

Edward Teach's two-year career as the pirate Blackbeard was over.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackbeard

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. bounty
  2. bowsprit
  3. braided
  4. broadsides
  5. carousing
  6. dangling
  7. deposition
  8. pigtails
  9. pseudonym
  10. severed

  1. a testimony given under oath
  2. cut off
  3. having parties
  4. braids of hair
  5. a reward for catching a person
  6. hanging loosely
  7. a false name
  8. a pole extending forward from the front of a ship
  9. woven together, as strands of hair
  10. firing of all guns along of side of a ship

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for July 12, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. h; 3. i; 4. j; 5. c; 6. f; 7. a; 8. d; 9. g; 10. b