Blackbeard is one of the most infamous pirates in history. When teaching children about his exploits, you may wish to avoid the more blood-thirsty aspects of his life and focus on points that children will be able to better understand. Kids can learn about the origins of Blackbeard's name and retrace his many travels. They can also discover how the pirate's dramatic life ended and learn how his legend has survived over time.
A Burning Beard
Blackbeard was actually named Edward Teach; however, he came to be known by the more dramatic name of Blackbeard because he grew his beard very long and braided it with hemp. Blackbeard would then put matches into his beard and light them, thus creating a frightening display for his many enemies.
Blackbeard was born in Bristol, Britain, in 1680. He later sailed to Jamaica to begin a career as a privateer. As captain of his own ship, Blackbeard attacked many vessels in the Caribbean. When teaching children about Blackbeard's travels, use a map to show the length of his voyage from Bristol to Jamaica. Blackbeard eventually took his ship, the "Queen Anne's Revenge," to North Carolina, but the ship ran aground in shallow waters.
The governor of Virginia put a price on Blackbeard's head. The legendary pirate had earned a reputation for being a tough man to capture -- and to kill. However, Capt. Robert Maynard succeeded in killing Blackbeard on Nov. 22, 1718. The battle between Maynard and Blackbeard began at dawn. Blackbeard received 25 wounds before he died at Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina.
Blackbeard in Legend
Blackbeard's death did not stop his story from spreading. Tales of Blackbeard circulated for many years, and his exploits were incorporated into several books. Perhaps the most famous book to feature Blackbeard -- and one well-suited for children -- is Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel "Treasure Island." Depending on the age of the children learning about Blackbeard, you may wish to incorporate a reading of "Treasure Island" in your lesson plan.
A Historic Discovery in 1996
Many individuals searched for Blackbeard's treasures long after his death. However, it was not until November 1996 that a dive team with Intersal, Inc., actually made the historic discovery. The divers found such items as cannons, anchors and ballast stones that archaeologists think are probably from Blackbeard's sunken ship "Queen Anne's Revenge."
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