“If I don’t kill a man every now and then, they forget who I am” that’s what Blackbeard from Pirates of the Caribbean said while wielding his powerful sword and standing on the deck of his deadly ship – the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Although the real Queen Anne’s Revenge doesn’t have any mystic magic that ties, drags, and hangs their enemies down the masts, the real ship, and its captain, Blackbeard, was every bit a terror to official Navy ships or any sailor that was at the other end of its canons.
Today, every pirate lover and history buff can visit the ship’s relics and artifacts in museums (listed below).
Blackbeard & His Ship of Terror
“Let’s jump on board and cut them to pieces” is the famous line uttered by the most famous, and undoubtedly, the most feared pirate to sail the Caribbean Sea – Captain Edward Teach or more commonly known as Blackbeard.
Blackbeard’s early life is still shrouded in mystery and nothing much is known about him prior to his becoming a pirate captain. It is said that he might have begun his seafaring days as a British Privateer and looted Spanish ships in the West Indies for the British government.
He turned to piracy at the end of 1713 with Benjamin Hornigold. He rose through the ranks due to his naval skill to become a captain. In 1717, a French slave ship called La Concorde was captured by Blackbeard. He sold the slaves and the French crew was put ashore.
The ship contained gold dust that Blackbeard seized but that was not the only thing he took. La Concorde would now be known as Queen Anne’s Revenge, the infamous 200-ton scary pirate ship with 40 cannons and reportedly black sails that Blackbeard used to terrorize the Atlantic.
Blackbeard was known for being the demon of the seas but his most bold and notorious act was the seizing of Charleston Harbor. In 1718, without spilling a drop of blood, Blackbeard took hold of the harbor for a week with his ship and three smaller ones. He looted several ships that tried to enter or leave the port. He held the citizens hostage until the government gave in to his demand for a chest full of medicines for his crew.
That said, contrary to his “cruel reputation” Blackbeard never harmed any of his hostages or killed unnecessarily. He would rather be cunning and play with his wits to have them surrender to him without much of a fight. For this, he spread a tale of terror and rumors of using black magic as well as voodoo.
And he indeed played the part. He struck fear into the heart of his enemies by using his appearance to his advantage. He dressed in knee-high boots, dark robes, and a red coat that looked like he was covered in the flames of hell itself. He would appear in a ship with a cloud of smoke, created by lit fuses in his beard. Daggers, knives, and guns were strapped to his chest. Just that itself and the sight of his massive ship were enough for his enemies to willingly surrender their ship and its treasures to him. No one was brave enough to stand against the might of Blackbeard.
Discovery of Queen Anne’s Revenge
The Queen Anne’s Revenge went aground in 1718 in North Carolina. Some say that it was intentionally done by Blackbeard as a distraction so he could escape. It lay there undisturbed and unknown for almost 300 years until it was discovered in 1996 by Intersal Inc.
Archeological divers from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources began excavating the wreck. Cannons, anchors, the size of the ship, its design and collection as well as its location confirmed that it was indeed Blackbeard’s ship. Till now, around 400,000 artifacts have been raised from the site.
See the Relics
Currently, pirate fans can see the incredible relics of Queen Anne’s Revenge including its cannons and guns that made sailors quiver and surrender without even thinking about a confrontation.
All of the artifacts from the wreck are on display at N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The exhibits are free and offer great insights to the pirate and his life.
Dive to the Shipwreck
Although exploring the shipwreck is not permissible to travelers, according to some blogs and divers, with an advanced open water scuba certification and special permission from the state this could be possible given a valid reason.
Divingblog.com had mentioned that it’s a two-day activity with the first day explaining the wreck and coveying its historical, archeological, and ecological importance. The second day includes diving to the wreck where divers can touch and feel what was once a fearsome ship that conquered the seas.
So whether you plan to dive into the shipwreck or see the relics in the museums, there is no doubt that for those moments you will be part of Blackbeard’s pirate crew and his terrifying Queen Anne’s Revenge.