Monday, 8 February 2016

The ghastly death of the pirate Blackbeard, 1718

Blackbeard is the most famous pirate that ever lived. Who can forget a man so successful, dangerous and terrifying to look at. It is all a far cry from his origins. He is originally known as Edward Teach and his first experience of the seas is gained with the English Navy but when the lure of great wealth proves irresistible he moves on to pirating.

He first gains notoriety in Charleston where his ship and several other pirate ships he controls carry out a South Carolina naval blockade of the port. Eventually a man called Maynard takes it upon himself to go after him.

On November 21st 1718 he catches up with  the Blackbeard ship when their two respective ships meet and a fierce hand to hand fight soon ensues. Blackbeard takes the initiative and clambers on to the ‘Jane’ ship used by Maynard in the mistaken belief that his broadside attack has killed most of his adversaries. His confidence takes a hit when several men in hiding come out. This has little bearing on Blackbeard’s stomach for a fight. He barks at Maynard ‘damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you’. When Maynard and Teach (Blackbeard) come across one another they lunge straight for one another with their swords. Maynard makes a thrust and catches Blackbeard’s cartridge box with the point of his sword with such force he bends it to the hilt. Teach counters by breaking his guard, and wounds Maynard's fingers but not enough to finish the fight. It is a desperate situation but Maynard is quick witted enough to realise his only chance is to use his pistol so he jumps back, throws his sword away and fires his pistol at Teach.

This time he wounds him. Another officer, Demelt then intervenes and catches Blackbeard with his sword on the pirate’s face. Blackbeard praises him and Demelt attacks him once again. They only break off because both get attacked by others.  

Maynard continues to fight long after. Later during the battle, while Teach is loading his pistol he finally dies from blood loss. According to Maynard’s report, when he examines Teach he has five shot marks and has been stabbed more than twenty times. Maynard then completes the coup de grace by cutting off his head and hanging it from his bowsprit. It is such a triumph that Teach's head is later placed as a trophy on the ship where it is kept until Maynard can show it to claim his prize when he returns home.

If you like reading about the Blackbeard death and enjoy hearing about Pirates then go ahead and read about

Henry Every and his Amazing Pirate Theft from the Mughal Convoy, 1694