Blackbeard, d. 1718, English pirate. His name was probably Edward Teach, Thatch, or Thach. He probably began as a privateer in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), then turned pirate. In 1716–18 he preyed on shipping and coastal settlements of the West Indies and the Atlantic coast of North America, becoming notorious for cruelty. His headquarters were in the Bahamas and the Carolinas. The governor of North Carolina shared some of the booty, but despite his protection Blackbeard was killed by a British force from Virginia. Legend has romanticized Blackbeard; his ship, found near Beaufort, N.C., in 1996, is key to a tourist "Pirate's Trail."

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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