Blackbeard: The Prototypical Pirate

Blackbeard, as portrayed in an 18th century etching. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Blackbeard, as portrayed in an 18th century etching. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1718, the pirate known as Blackbeard was killed in a battle with the British Navy.

Here are some things you may not have known about the man regarded as the prototypical pirate.

Not much is known about Blackbeard’s early life, including his actual name. He was known as Edward Teach or Edward Thatch, but it’s unlikely that was his real name.

It’s believed he was born around 1680 in Bristol, England. He was likely able to read and write, and may have been a child of privilege.

He arrived in the West Indies around the turn of the 18th century, where he found work as a sailor for a privateer.

Privateers are civilians working under the authority of a national government during a time of war. They were permitted to seize enemy ships and cargo and share any of the proceeds.

Following the War of Spanish Succession, Blackbeard, along with many of his privateer peers turned to piracy. He went to work with Captain Benjamin Hornigold.

Hornigold allowed his crews to take only ships flying the flags of British enemies from the war, namely the French. Under pressure from his crew to begin seizing British ships, Hornigold retired, leaving Blackbeard in charge.

The decision to begin seizing British ships, essentially spelled the end for Blackbeard. Despite receiving a pardon in North Carolina, he was killed by a Royal Navy boarding party sent from the crown colony of Virginia.

Our question, name one of Blackbeard’s two most famous ships.

Today is Independence Day in Lebanon, and Teachers’ Day in Costa Rica.

It’s unofficially Go For a Ride Day, and Humane Society Anniversary Day.

It’s the birthday of comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who was born in 1921; actor, director and animator Terry Gilliam, who is 76; and actress Scarlett Johansson, who is 32.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1967, the top song in the U.S. was “Incense and Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

The No. 1 movie was “The Jungle Book,” while the novel “The Confessions of Nat Turner” by William Styron topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

In addition to Ken Griffey Jr., what other baseball hall of famer was born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21 (however, not in the same year)?

Submit your answer at and we’ll add the name of the person with the first correct answer to our winner’s wall … at We’ll reveal the correct answer on Friday’s episode.

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