November 22: A Black(beard) Day in History

Edward Teach, BlackbeardOn a November 22, fading into the fog
of the past, the world lost a colorful figure whose abbreviated
career and death at a young age are bound to be long-remembered. I
refer, of course, to Edward Teach, better
known as the pirate, “Blackbeard.”

From a home base in North Carolina, the British-born Teach
terrorized Charleston, South Carolina, as well as ship-born
victims, into submission. Literally, he terrorized them,
relying on a monstrous appearance, with lit, smoking fuses inserted
in his masive beard, and fears of what he might do, to
separate captives from their money. History says he rarely actually
hurt anybody in order to extract treasure.

This is not to say he was a good person. Like, say, a government
official, he took what did not belong to him with threats of
violence, subsisting on that which had actually been earned and
produced by others. Unlike any government official, however, he
never claimed a right to do what he did—he simply stole what he
wanted from those weaker than himself.

Remarkably, Teach’s piratic adventures lasted only two years,
coming to an end in 1718. He is believed to have been in his late
thirties when he died. The pirate’s colorful personality guaranteed
him a life long after death. But then, people have a certain
weakness for predators.

from Hit & Run

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