When you’re vacationing or enjoying a luxury yacht charter on the tranquil Caribbean Sea, imagine that 300 years ago the most notorious gangsters of the seas sailed these same waters, dropping hook in the same coves.
Here we reveal six real pirates of the Caribbean that certainly were not the affable swashbuckling miscreants of the Silver Screen.
1. Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard
Born in Bristol, England, Teach came to the Caribbean as a privateer. Following the end of Queen Anne’s War, Teach converted a captured warship into a pirate ship he would call Queen Anne’s Revenge and continued his reign of terror along the U.S. eastern seaboard and throughout the Caribbean.
Although Blackbeard was considered an extremely brave man, by modern standards he was nothing short of psychotic. In battle, Teach would place lit matches under his hat and in his beard so his enemies would think his head was on fire. If victims would hesitate in handing over jewelry, Blackbeard would simply brandish a cutlass or ax and take the entire appendage. Teach once shot his own first mate so that people would remember his name and just how cruel he could be. During Blackbeard’s reign in the Caribbean, his only adversary was disease. Teach once put the town of Charleston, South Carolina, under siege — holding a prominent citizen hostage — to gain a ransom of medicine to treat himself and a number of his crew for syphilis.
In 1718, a military force led by Lt. Robert Maynard was sent to dispatch Blackbeard. The two men came to blows near Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, and legend has it that the hand-to-hand battle lasted 40 minutes. It is said that Maynard stabbed Blackbeard more than 20 times and shot him no less than five times before Blackbeard finally died of blood loss.