Edward Teach was a mean fellow. Born in Bristol (probably) and forged in the fires of Queen Anne's War, he took to the sea as an apprentice to Benjamin Hornigold when the war ended. Hornigold, at the time, was a notorious pirate. Teach would strike out on his own after Hornigold's retirement, and the New World would shudder at the mere mention of his nickname: Blackbeard.
Blackbeard captured a frigate, equipped her with 40 guns, named her Queen Anne's Revenge, and set to work crafting an alliance of pirates. With a veritable army behind him, he accomplished remarkable feats of bold buccaneering, including the blockade and capture of Charleston, South Carolina. He made a fortune by ransoming the entire population, then settled down nearby.
Teach was a skilled propagandist. He cultivated his image as a pirate boogeyman so that violence was rarely necessary. He wore his famous beard as thick as a wolf's fur and curled it up around his ears, inviting victims to compare him to a savage beast. Whenever he boarded ships or spoke to captives, he tied cannon fuses to his hat and lit them, creating a terrifying image of shadow and smoke that would make a Balrog feel right at home.
|Dude, sweet hat.|
At this point, the British offered a general pardon to all pirates if they would only please knock it off, for god's sake. Blackbeard graciously accepted, then almost immediately took to the seas again for more sweet, sweet booty.
At that point, the Governor of Virginia got a little bit pissed off. He made it his mission (or rather, the mission of his underlings) to track down that wascally piwate if it was the last thing he did. So he sent Lieutenant Robert Maynard after him. Through a secretive blockade and clever subterfuge, Maynard found Blackbeard on Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina, relatively isolated, relatively drunk, and fully off guard.
Despite being outnumbered, drunk, and caught unawares, Teach managed to get to one of his ships and fire off a well-timed broadside that instantly shredded one third of Maynard's men and put one of his three ships out of commission. Confident in his impending victory, Blackbeard had his men grapple Maynard's ship and board it. This was exactly what Maynard wanted.
|Careful, Teach! Maynard's been playing Yu-Gi-Oh since it launched!|
The moment the pirates were aboard, Maynard's sailors burst from the hold and attacked. The pirates, still lightly buzzed, were taken by surprise and immediately lost the initiative. Somewhere between ten and twelve pirates were killed. Although Maynard lost almost as many men, the battle was over when Blackbeard died. Of course, the reason Maynard lost almost as many men was that Blackbeard just would not die. The two of them locked together in combat, and Blackbeard utterly wrecked Maynard's shit, breaking his sword and moving in for the kill just before another sailor slashed his neck and stopped him.
It took as many as five gunshots and twenty sword slashes to bring that beast of a man down. When he fell, his men quickly surrendered. Maynard cut off Teach's head and attached it to the front of his ship so that the whole sailing world would know who was going to collect Blackbeard's bounty.
|Which was kind of a dick move, if we're being honest|
His death, of course, did little to diminish his legend. The man with the wild beard and fiery cap took more mortal wounds than a bear before he fell. For that and for all his misadventures, when we think "pirate" we think "Blackbeard."
You know, until Johnny Depp ruined it.