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24 September 2014

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You are in: Bristol > History > Historic Figures > Bristol's most famous pirate

James Purefoy as Blackbeard in the BBC drama

Bristol's most famous pirate

Bristol's shipfaring links include some of history's shadier characters. We take a closer look at one such blackhearted Bristolian, the notorious pirate, Blackbeard.

Some fascinating facts about America's most famous pirate, who was born Edward Teach in Bristol in 1680:

James Purefoy as Blackbeard in the BBC drama

His gang was 400 strong and he sailed in a huge slave ship he named Queen Anne's Revenge.

Co-incidentally the ship, built in 1710, was originally given a name which later become a by-word for Bristol - she was called "Concord".

She was transporting African slaves to the Caribbean, when in 1717 Blackbeard captured her off the island of Martinique.

The pirate was fortunate because the Concord crew was weakened with dysentery and the remaining healthy crew members were in no position to defeat the pirates.

Through the Queen Anne's Revenge and his three other ships, Blackbeard captured some 23 ships and stripped them of anything of value.

The Royal Navy was helpless because they had just ten ships to police the entire American coastline.

In order to frighten his enemies and crew, Blackbeard was known for stuffing smoking fuses in his hair for dramatic effect.

He even shot one of his most trusted men, in the knee, his excuse being that if he didn't kill one of his crew now and then, they would forget who he was.

Blackbeard  was a frequent visitor to North Carolina during his pirating escapades and it was there, in November 1718, that he was captured and killed.

He died after being shot five times and had 20 sword cuts.

last updated: 11/03/2008 at 11:43
created: 11/09/2006

You are in: Bristol > History > Historic Figures > Bristol's most famous pirate

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