Very little is known about the early life of Edward Teach, not even his real surname, as false ones were often adopted by pirates to avoid harming their family's name. He was probably born c. 1680. It is believed that he was raised in Bristol, the second-largest city in England. He was most likely literate. He may have been born into a wealthy family, but this is unsubstantiated. It is believed that sometime around the end of the 17th century he travelled to Jamaica aboard a merchant vessel, possibly a slave ship. It has been suggested that during Queen Anne's War, which lasted from 1702 to 1713, he served onboard privateer ships as a sailor, but it is unknown when he joined the fighting, if indeed he did at all. Shortly after 1713, it appears that Teach moved from Jamaica to New Providence, then a lawless pirate society, and became involved in piracy, as did many who had been employed as privateers during the war.
Around 1716 he became a member of the crew of Benjamin Hornigold. Later that year Hornigold placed him in control of a sloop, and in 1717 Teach captained his own sloop in a series of raids on some cargo ships. He became very interested in Madeira wine, at one point scuttling a ship with all cargo save the Madeira wine it had been carrying. This campaign is the first mention of Teach as a pirate in his own right. In September of that year he met Stede Bonnet, who sailed as a pirate on the ship Revenge. Bonnet's crew was unhappy with his leadership, and Bonnet soon allowed Teach to take over as captain of the Revenge, leaving him and Hornigold in control of three ships, soon increased to four in late October. However, Hornigold insisted on attacking only non-British ships, perhaps because he had been a British privateer, and perhaps because he wished to be able to fall back on the defense of continuing in British employ if captured. His crew chafed under such restrictions, and he was demoted from captain, to be replaced by Teach. He soon left the fleet with only one sloop, and never spoke with Teach again.
Major Story Arcs
In late November, Teach waylaid a French vessel, La Concorde, which was carrying slaves. Most of the slaves he left on a nearby island where they were later recaptured, though it is possible he also recruited some of them to the ship. La Concorde, on the other hand, was re purposed and renamed Queen Anne's Revenge. Soon after he attacked the Great Allen, and, after disembarking the crew and emptying the holds, burned the ship. it is estimated that his crew contained some 150 men, and he was in control of one ship, a briganteen and a sloop. In December he attacked the sloop Margaret, ransacking it before allowing the captain, Bostock, to return to his ship unharmed. Bostock provided the first description of Teach as having a large black beard. He also described Teach as having only two ships, having at some point lost the briganteen. He was next spotted in early February, when he was seen scuttling a ship around Hispaniola. In March they encountered the ship Adventure, captained by David Harriot. Teach invited Harriot to join the pirates, and he did so. They soon added another four sloops and a ship to their group, bringing the total to eight. In April they added another two ships, and proceeded towards South Carolina. There, in May of 1718, Teach and his flotilla of ships blockaded the Charleston harbour. He attacked some nine ships, including the Crowley, which contained several prominent members of Charleston society. Teach demanded medical supplies, and threatened to execute his numerous hostages if he was refused. His demands were agreed to, and he was finally given the supplies he requested. True to his word, he allowed the hostages and their ships to go free, though he did take many of their valuables.
During his time in Charleston he had learned of the plans to purge the area of pirates, and at some point had also become aware of the standing pardon offered to pirates at the time, who had to surrender by September 5th, 1718. He confided to Bonnet that he intended to accept the offer. First, however, the ships had to be careened so that they could be cleaned. In so doing the Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground on a sand bar and was damaged beyond repair, as was one of their sloops. Teach sent Bonnet to find out what would happen to a captain who accepted the pardon. Bonnet received his pardon and returned to the Inlet where he had left Teach, only to find that he had absconded with all of the valuables and left twenty-five or so of the crew members marooned. Bonnet set out for revenge, and returned to piracy. He couldn't find Teach, however, and was captured on September 27th, 1718, and later executed. Meanwhile, Teach had sailed straight to Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, and in June had received his pardon from the governor. He settled in Bath, but soon grew bored and went to St Thomas to receive a commission as a privateer. By August he had returned to piracy. The Governor of Pennsylvania issued a warrant for his arrest in August, but Teach was far away from Pennsylvania, and remained free. He captured two French ships, and claimed, after placing both crews on one chip, that he had found the empty ship as a derelict. He was rewarded with 60 hogsheads of sugar, and he and his crew were given the contents of the cargo hold. He spent much of his time in Ocracoke Inlet, where he was in the company of many other notorious pirates, including Charles Vane.
News that Teach and Vane were in the area unsettled the colonies, and the Governor of Pennsylvania sent two sloops on an unsuccessful mission to capture the pirates. The Governor of Virginia, Alexander Sportswood, also got involved in attempting to capture the pirates, calling their presence in the area a crisis. From William Howard, a former quartermaster of the Queen Anne's Revenge, he gained information of Teach's whereabouts after arresting and almost hanging the man without the legal authority to do so. Sportswood himself funded and coordinated the attack on Teach, which was lead by Robert Maynard, and ascertained the pirates' location on November 21st. Teach had set no watch, many of his crew members were in nearby Bath, and he was entertaining guests; he was not prepared, therefore, for the attack which occurred at daybreak on November 22nd, 1718. Teach himself fought on board Maynard's ship, Jane, where he fought in single combat with the ship's captain, until he was slashed across the neck by one of the crew members. Grievously wounded, he was set upon by the rest of the crew and killed. He had been shot at least five times, and stabbed severely about twenty times. His body was decapitated and his body was tossed into the water, and his head was tied to the bowsprit of Maynard's sloop. He was estimated to be between 35 and 40 at the time of his death.
In Archer and Armstrong #6 Blackbeard is seen as one of the guises of the Immortal Enemy.