Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blackbeard's blockade of Charleston!


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In May of 1718, Edward Teach — more commonly known as Blackbeard sailed his ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge, along with his fleet, into Charleston bay, dropping anchor just at the neck  between Sullivan and James' islands.  A ship heading out from the city, bound for London was his first victim from which he commandeered the captain, Robert Clark, and her passengers. The next day Blackbeard took another vessel coming out of Charleston (Charles Town at the time) as well as two Pinks (type of French ship) sailing into the city.  Once word got out, the news "struck a great terror to the whole province of Carolina, having just before been visited by Vane, another notorious Pyrate, that they abandoned themselves to despair, being in no condition to resist."

At the time, there were eight ships in the bay awaiting departure, but they dared not pass by Blackbeard's fleet. All inward bound vessels remained at sea so that all trade to Charleston came to a halt. The poor citizens of Charleston had just fought a long expensive war with the surrounding natives and were in no mood to deal with Blackbeard.

Blackbeard sent a parlay group which included Richards, the captain of the Revenge, three pirates, and Mr. Marks, one of the prisoners whom they had taken off Clark's ship.  His only demand to the citizens of Charleston?  A "Chest of Medicines".  In addition he wanted his men returned unharmed.  If these demands were not met Blackbeard would "murder all their prisoners, send up their heads to the governor, and set the ships they had taken on fire."

While Mr. Marks was relaying this information to the city council, the rest of the pirates walked the streets of Charleston in the sight of all the people, who were full of rage and indignant at having to watch these "robbers and murderers" walk about free and not be able to do anything about it. Instead, they were forced to "let the villains pass with impunity"

In light of how many lives would be saved, (as well as one of their own councilmen, Samuel Wragg who had been captured), the council had no choice but to give into Blackbeard's demands. They sent aboard a chest, valued at between 300 and 400 pounds and the pirates went back safe to their ships.

As soon as Blackbeard received the chest, he released all the prisoners and ships, but not after taking relieving them of all their gold and silver and other provisions. And six days after he sailed into the bay, he and his fleet left.

Fascinating!  You can't make this stuff up!



8 comments:

  1. Thurs June 7th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Wow ... this notorious Blackbeard dude was a 'major bully' now, wasn't he !!! After reading the accounts and description from that period of time, he obviously exuded great power, command, and fear amongst the people, and, I'm sure amongst his own faithful crew (who would dare not disobey him) !
    After he "took" (got) what he "wanted" (demanded), and then some ... and left Charles Town, wonder what became of him. I'll do some digging on the internet .... I'm interested to know "how many years" he lasted !
    Thanks for sharing more history ... very interesting, fascinating too, but disturbing as well. (I could just visualize the people actually being/feeling terrorized by him !)
    And no ... not for one minute did I think that 'this stuff was made up' !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

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  2. He died on November 22, 1718. So he only had 6 more months to live.

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  3. Thurs June 7th,
    Thanks, Ann. How interesting is that !!! Have to say ... 'what goes around, comes around'.
    Six more months to live ... wow ! God does serve justice, to one and all.
    Thanks for sharing that info.
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

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  4. Awesome story! You really can't make it up! Where did you hear about it from?

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  5. That is really interesting! Thanks for sharing, MaryLu!

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  6. I discovered this story while researching for my Charles Towne Belles series some years ago. In fact, it is mentioned in Book 2, The Blue Enchantress, I believe.
    Anyway, yes.. he was killed just a few months later up near North Carolina in a fierce battle with the HMS Jane and Ranger commanded by Lieutenant Robert Maynard. Maynard defeated him and hung his head from his ship's bowsprit. Cool, huh?

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  7. That is so interesting! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  8. I love reading stories like this! I know that stealing is wrong, and blackbeard really must've been hated, but I just find it all facsinating! I think it would be so cool, to be able to experience something like this! Although I'm sure I would be terrififed if it really did happen....:)

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