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Real Pirates

Blackbeard

BlackbeardEdward Teach, also known as Blackbeard (1680-1718), was perhaps one of the most notorious and fearsome captains from piracy's Golden Age. Standing at six feet, four inches tall (at a time when very few people grew to be six feet), Blackbeard towered over most men with his braided black beard (at a time when few beards were worn). He was reported to have worn lit fuses under his hat to frighten his enemies during attacks.

Presumably born in Bristol, England, Teach started out as a member of Benjamin Hornigold's crew alongside other future pirate captains, including the Whydah's Sam Bellamy. He quickly became a renowned pirate captain after acquiring his own ship, which he renamed Queen Anne's Revenge, in 1717. The Revenge operated mainly around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies. During his career, which spanned less than two years, Blackbeard and his pirate crew successfully blockaded the port of Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after, the ship ran aground near Beaufort, North Carolina. Blackbeard returned to sea after receiving a royal pardon.

While notorious in battle and bearing a fearsome image, there are actually no known accounts of Blackbeard harming or killing anyone he held captive. He always commanded vessels with the permission of their crews.

After six members of the Whydah's crew were hanged at the order of Boston's rulers, pirates still at sea vowed to take bloody revenge by killing any New England captives they acquired. When Blackbeard and crew had captured a ship from Boston, it was burned in accordance with this threat. Blackbeard's activities eventually won the attention of Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia, and the Revenge's crew was surprised by a group of sailors on a mission to capture him. After receiving no fewer than five gunshot wounds and twenty slash wounds, Blackbeard was killed in the battle. This ended the short career of pirate Edward Teach—one that would become one of the most legendary.

Portrayed by:

E.J. Subkoviak

E.J. SubkoviakE.J. Subkoviak has worked as an actor at the Science Museum since the opening of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in 2009. In Titanic, he played first-class steward William McMurray. Since then he has been a presenter for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition, and is now a company member of the museum's Science Live theater program. A professional actor since moving to the Twin Cities in 1997, he has appeared at the Actors Theater of Minnesota, Park Square Theater and the Great American History Theater in St. Paul, and at the Jungle and Hey City Theaters in Minneapolis. He has also appeared in a number of locally-shot independent films.