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01 September 2011

Finding Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge

Posted in Pirate life

Although we believed for some time that the remains of the shipwreck discovered at Beaufort Inlet, N.C. by my buddy Phil Masters in 1996 was the notorious Blackbeard's, it wasn't until yesterday that archaeologists confirmed the historic discovery.

The 300-ton, 40-gun pirate flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, was originally a French slave ship named the La Concorde when she was captured by Benjamin Hornigold near the island of Martinique. Hornigold awarded the beauty to one of his most courageous crew members, Edward Teach. And the rest is history!

The long-term debate over the true identity of Blackbeard's ship was because there was no precise identification. No name tag! Whereas explorer Barry Clifford's discovery of pirate Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy's Whydah in 1984 was easily confirmed by the discovery of the ship's bell, QAR had a bell dated 1705, but no name. (FYI, most pirate ships were stolen and renamed, so the ship's bell didn't always reflect the name of the pirate vessel.)

BlackbeardYears ago, Phil introduced me to David Moore, archaeologist and curator at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. No one, and I mean no one, knows more about Blackbeard than David. (Obviously, we're kindred spirits.)

Get more info about the N.C. Maritime Museum's Blackbeard exhibit

And David has always believed the find to be Blackbeard's flagship. Why? The location. The number of cannons found. The size of the anchors. The age of the artifacts. And the fact that there is no historical evidence of any other large vessel like QAR in the neighborhood!

Read the National Geographic article: Blackbeard's ship confirmed off North Carolina

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Did you know?

  • In 1671, when Henry Morgan sailed from Port Royal, Jamaica to sack and plunder Panama, his fleet consisted of 37 vessel, ranging from 4-gunners to 22-gunners.

  • Captain Kidd received a letter of marquee from King William III to seize any French ships during his search to capture pirates. Instead, he captured an Indianman resulting in the beginning of his pirate career.

  • The cook onboard a pirate ship was usually a disabled pirate who was allowed to stay on the ship if he could make food that didn't kill the pirate crew.

  • In September 1718, following months of successful plundering raids, the pirate crews of Blackbeard and Charles Vane rendezvoused on Ocracoke Island (North Carolina) for a wild, weeklong bacchanal.

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