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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?

  • Pirates thought that having women on board their ship was bad luck.  It's why pirate femmes like Mary Read initially lived a life of piracy as men!

  • Most pirates stole their ships because they couldn't afford them.  Once they'd capture a ship, they'd convert it for pirate life by making more room for sailor living quarters and strengthening the decks to hold heavy cannons.

  • The difference between a pirate and a privateer is that privateers are sanctioned by respective governments and they don't attack ships from their own country. Pirates harass anyone passing by.

  • A galleon ship was armed to the teeth. It typically carried 74 guns, 36 of which were mounted on either side of the ship. The two guns were mounted aft.


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