“So our Heroe, Captain Teach, assumed the Cognomen of Black-beard, from that large Quantity of Hair, which, like a frightful Meteor, covered his whole Face, and frightened America more than any Comet that has appeared there a long Time.”
In 1718, two large wooden ships sank in the sandy shoals of Beaufort inlet, almost one mile away from the coast. These two ships were the adventure and queen Anne’s revenge, the pirate ship commanded by Blackbeard.
History tells us that the christened La Concorde was built sometime around 1710 near the French port of Nante. It was possessed by the merchant who initially used the ship for privateering during the War of Spanish Succession. War ended in 1713, and a ship was converted for moving Africans from their homelands to the Caribbean Islands and colonial America to labour in the sugar plantations. There was also known as the triangle of trade; European merchants travelled to the coast of Africa to trade goods for slaves, then took the slaves to the New World in exchange for goods to return to Europe.
Black beard was more educated due to his aristocratic background, so it never took a long time to absorb all the knowledge that hornigold imparted to him and become acclimated to life as a pirate. Blackbeard held his first ship in 1717, and nearly a month later, ships Robert and Good. Intent. Toward the end of the year, he set his sight on a French slave ship named La Concorde. Its weight is 250 tones of strong oak and hull and sleek, and her 26 guns have scared most of the merchants. He was not interested in vessels because slave ships are faster and more reliable on the high seas, but this was cargo and therefore needed to be transported as quickly as possible from one continent to another for trade.
Even these ships are well armed because the human cargo is so valuable that needed to be transported carefully and well protected in return to get good profit. Blackbeard believed that such a daunting vessel as La Concorde would give him the cruelty needed to rule the maritime world. Indeed, it did brand him a force to be reckoned with, but to make the ship even extra ferocious, he tricked it out with many more cannons, shaped extra deck space, and named it Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Blackbeard’s ship was his award-winning custody. He used Queen Anne’s Revenge to loot other boats through the Caribbean. On one of his several voyages, he met Captain Steve Bonnet, who would develop his partner in crime.
These two men, along with a crew of almost 300 added pirates, terrorised the Atlantic coast – snatching food, supplies, weapons, and anything of value that they could snip. One such outbreak involved the capture of the passenger ship Crowley, in which Blackbeard commanded a ransom of medical supplies in an argument for the passengers. Once he achieved this act, he continued to sail the Atlantic, looking for more chances to seize goods.
Queen Anne’s Revenge and all its magnificence were passing. A few months after it was detained, the ship was beached in what is today known as Beaufort Inlet. It is supposed that this is not an accident, either. David Herriot, witness and former captain of the additional ship that was also grounded, Adventure, believed that Blackbeard may have deliberately stuck the ship to do what he was infamous for – leaving fellow shipmates. Soon after the ship was stuck, Blackbeard met his death at the fingers of Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard. The lieutenant ambushed Blackbeard and his crew, shooting Blackbeard five times and shooting him closely 20 times. He paid back to Virginia to transport the captured pirates and Blackbeard’s severed head to Governor Alexander Spotswood.
As with most archaeological endeavours, this recapture and citation process could have been more active and varied as great care is taken to the first record and then eliminating the pieces from their original context. Many challenging tasks were carried out to bring up artefacts of about weight 1000 pounds, like cannons and anchors. More than 300,000 artefacts are recovered from nearly 60%of the site. The site, over an area of 200 ft. by 75 ft., is located near Fort Macon, a mile away from the coast and 23 ft. below the water’s surface. Very slight of the wooden ship has lived due to the harsh salt-water environment, but a few physical elements like the sternpost, some planking, the toilet liner, some sailcloth, metal fasteners, and lead patches tell us what the ship may have looked like.
Many artefacts related to weaponry have been found, like iron cannons, cannon balls, gun parts, ammunition, sword parts, and hand grenades. Navigation instruments that are made from copper and brass have also been found, like compasses, dividers, and sounding weights. Personal instruments for the pirates and passengers were also included, such as shoe buckles, buttons, straight pins, ceramic tobacco pipes, and lead gaming markers. Medical kit, used by the ship’s French doctors to treat the crew and cargo alike, including a mortar and pestle, pewter syringes, a cauterising iron for sealing wounds, brass nested weights for measuring medicines and compounds, and a pewter bleeding bowl.
the artefacts are unconcerned from compaction, stabilised, and studied; they are transferred to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort and subsequently displayed there or at other venues such as the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History in Washington, DC, the NC Museum of History in Raleigh, and the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City. In 2018 the shipwreck will be 300 years old, and the public is invited to celebrate what is one of North Carolina’s most unique archaeological sites.
References | Queen Anne’s Revenge