Growing up, we were surrounded by the fascination with pirates and buried treasure. Back in the old days booty meant stolen treasure—doubloons, gold, jewels, silks, etc.
Pirate’s outfits for children were common with the infamous eye patch and plastic cutlass. Of course you had the television shows and films—Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island, Disney’s Treasure Island, Abbott and Costello Meets Captain Kidd, Disney’s Blackbeard’s Ghost, Disney’s Davy Crockett and the River Pirates, The Adventures of Long John Silver, Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson, etc.
Currently Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is in the cinema. Blackbeard and the Queen Anne’s Revenge are featured. Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow, and Ian McShane is Blackbeard, whose appearance of long dark hair with fire brands resembles a demon from Hades.
As Blackbeard and his flagship are sailing again on the silver screen, a team of archaeologists off the coast of North Carolina have just hoisted up one of the anchors from the Queen Anne’s Revenge where the infamous ship lies. The picture below is of the anchor.
Blackbeard and his buccaneers (around 200 plus and a diverse lot they were as well) carried out a series of terror attacks on merchant ships during 1716-1718. No merchant ship was safe before dawn or dusk on the high seas.
If the ship’s captain refused to surrender to Blackbeard, the helmsman was killed to leave the merchant ship aimless as grappling hooks were tossed onto the helpless ship and pulled for the pirates to board and ransack. Hostages were taken and held for ransom. To celebrate there were always kegs of rum in the hole. Blackbeard treated his men well.
Blackbeard’s base of operations was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The locals tolerated Blackbeard and his men because the stolen goods could be bought cheaply. Never say American ingenuity began after the Revolutionary War.
Like most arrogant historical figures Blackbeard allowed himself and his men to be cornered by the Royal Navy in November 1718 at Ocarcoke Inlet. He had an escape plan which failed.
A fierce battle ensued, but in the end Blackbeard met his fate after hand to hand combat. He did not die easily. His head was hung on the bow sprit of Robert Maynard’s sloop, Jane, as a lesson about what the Royal Navy would do to pirates.
And what of the famed treasure of Blackbeard? Like the man said, only he and the devil knew where it was and it belonged to which ever lived the longest.
Well, matey, if you go hunting for buried treasures, be prepared. Blackbeard may be waiting to guard his chests of booty. Like most pirate captains, he was known for rigging booby-traps for the undeserving—which was everyone except the captain.
Consider if the pieces of eight are worth your life. Pirates loved to feed the sharks with passengers or treasure hunters whom they considered shark bait.
G. D. Williams © 2011
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides Trailers