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Blackbeard

Blackbeard, as pictured by Benjamin Cole

Although not much is known about him, Blackbeard was a notorious English pirate who operated in the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American Colonies; it is presumed that as the expansion of the Atlantic Slave Trade made Bristol an important trading port and the second-largest city in England, he was born and raised there. He was formally known as Edward Teach (sometimes Edward Thatch) and the cognomen "Blackbeard" was derived from his long dark beard and fearsome appearance. He is often described as a tall man with broad shoulders who dressed in dark clothing, long dark boots and a silk or velvet colourful long coat; late described to have his beard held in pigtails with small colourful ribbons. It is said that he hide fuses under his hat to scare off his enemies. He was about 35-40 years old when he died on November 22nd 1718 so it is assumed that he was born about 1680.

As he was found on his death with a letter from the Chief Justice and Secretary of the Province of Carolina, Tobias Knight, in his possession and communicated with merchants, it is assumed that he could write and read which lead one author to theorise that Blackbeard was born into a wealthy family.

In May 1718, he formed an alliance of pirates and blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina (Aka Charles Town). All boacts were prevented from entering and leaving the port, as it had no guard ship. After successfully ransoming its inhabitants for medical suppliex by threatening to kill the prisoners of the nine ships captured, he then ran Queen Anne's Revenge aground on a sandbar near Beaufort, North Carolina. He parted company with Bonnet and settled in Bath Town, where he accepted a royal pardon but soon enough returned to the sea.

Despite being greatly romanticised after his death as a fierce and blood-thirsty pirate, there is no indication that he killed anyone; he was a shrewd and calculating leader, who often didn't use force but relied upon his reputation to get the desired responses from those he captured and robbed.

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