80px|Blackbeard, as pictured by Benjamin Cole
Edward Teach (c. 1680 – 1718), better known as Blackbeard, was a
notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the
eastern coast of the American colonies. Most likely born in Bristol,
little is known about his early life. He may have served on privateer
ships during Queen Anne's War before he joined the crew of Benjamin
Hornigold, a pirate who operated from the Caribbean island of New
Providence, and with whom he engaged in numerous acts of piracy. Teach
renamed a captured merchant vessel as Queen Anne's Revenge and became a
renowned pirate, his cognomen derived from his thick black beard and
fearsome appearance; he was reported to have tied lit fuses under his
hat to frighten his enemies. A shrewd and calculating leader, he
avoided the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image, and
commanding his vessels with the permission of their crews. There are no
known accounts of his ever having harmed or murdered those he held
captive. Following his death on 22 November 1718, his image was
romanticised, becoming the inspiration for a number of pirate-themed
works of fiction across a range of genres. (more...)
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