Blackbeard for Kids

Pirate Strikes Fear on Land and Sea

Blackbeard's Final Fight
Interim Archives/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Kids are often interested in pirates and want to know the history of people such as Blackbeard. They may not be ready for the adult version of the biography of Blackbeard but can have their questions answered in this version for young readers.

Who was Blackbeard?

Blackbeard was a fearsome pirate who attacked other people's ships a long time ago, in the years 1717–1718. He enjoyed looking scary, making his long black hair and beard smoke while he was fighting.

He died while fighting ships sent to catch him and bring him to jail. Here are the answers to all your Blackbeard questions.

Was Blackbeard his real name?

His real name was Edward Thatch or Edward Teach. Pirates took nicknames to hide their real names. He was called Blackbeard because of his long, black beard.

Why was he a pirate?

Blackbeard was a pirate because it was a way to make a fortune. Life at sea was hard and risky for sailors in navy or on merchant ships. It was tempting to take what you learned serving on those ships and join a pirate crew where you would earn a share of the treasure. At different times, a government would encourage ships captains to be privateers and raid ships from other countries, but not theirs. These privateers might then begin to prey on any ships and become pirates.

What did pirates do?

Pirates sailed where they thought other ships would be. Once they found another ship, they would raise their pirate flag and attack.

Usually, the other ships just gave up once they saw the flag to avoid a fight and injuries. The pirates would then steal everything the ship was carrying.

What sort of stuff did pirates steal?

Pirates stole anything that they could use or sell. If a ship had cannons or other good weapons, the pirates would take them.

They stole food and alcohol. If there was any gold or silver, they would steal it. The ships they robbed were usually merchants ships carrying cargo such as cocoa, tobacco, cow hides or cloth. If the pirates thought they could sell the cargo, they took it.

Did Blackbeard leave behind any buried treasure?

Lots of people think so, but probably not. Pirates preferred to spend their gold and silver and not bury it somewhere. Also, most of the treasure he stole was cargo rather than coins and jewels. He would sell the cargo and spend the money.

Who were some of Blackbeard's friends?

Blackbeard learned how to be a pirate from Benjamin Hornigold, who gave him command of one of his pirate ships. Blackbeard helped Major Stede Bonnet, who didn't really know much about being a pirate. Another friend was Charles Vane, who had several chances to stop being a pirate but he never took them.

Why was Blackbeard so famous?

Blackbeard was famous because he was a very scary pirate. When he knew he was going to attack someone’s ship, he put smoking fuses in his long black hair and beard. He also wore pistols strapped to his body. Some sailors who saw him in battle actually thought he was the devil. Word of him spread and people on both land and sea were scared of him.

Did Blackbeard have a family?

According to Captain Charles Johnson, who lived at the same time as Blackbeard, he had 14 wives. This probably isn’t true, but it seems likely that Blackbeard did get married sometime in 1718 in North Carolina. There is no record of him ever having any kids.

Did Blackbeard have a pirate flag and a pirate ship?

Blackbeard's pirate flag was black with a white devil skeleton on it. The skeleton was holding a spear pointing at a red heart. He also had a very famous ship called the Queen Anne's Revenge. This mighty ship had 40 cannons on it, making it one of the most dangerous pirate ships ever.

Did they ever catch Blackbeard?

Local leaders often offered a reward for the capture of famous pirates. Many men tried to catch Blackbeard, but he was too smart for them and escaped capture many times.

To get him to stop, he was offered a pardon and he accepted it. However, he returned to piracy

How did Blackbeard die?

Finally, on November 22, 1718, pirate hunters caught up with him near Ocracoke Island, off of North Carolina. Blackbeard and his men put up quite a fight, but in the end they were all killed or arrested. Blackbeard died in battle and his head was cut off so the pirate hunters could prove they killed him. According to an old story, his headless body swam around his ship three times. This was not possible but added to his fearsome reputation.

Sources:

Cordingly, David. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 1996

Defoe, Daniel (Captain Charles Johnson). A General History of the Pyrates. Edited by Manuel Schonhorn. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1972/1999.

Konstam, Angus. The World Atlas of Pirates. Guilford: the Lyons Press, 2009

Woodard, Colin. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down. Mariner Books, 2008.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Minster, Christopher. "Blackbeard for Kids." ThoughtCo, Jul. 31, 2017, thoughtco.com/blackbeard-for-kids-2136223. Minster, Christopher. (2017, July 31). Blackbeard for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/blackbeard-for-kids-2136223 Minster, Christopher. "Blackbeard for Kids." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/blackbeard-for-kids-2136223 (accessed January 17, 2018).