During the early 1700s, the Pirate Blackbeard terrorized the seas off the coast of North Carolina and became a notorious villain. His vessel, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, was as equally infamous.
In 1716, Blackbeard served as part of the Benjamin Hornigold’s crew. Hornigold preyed on unsuspecting merchant ships in the Caribbean, and in late 1717, Hornigold’s crew seized a French slave ship, La Concorde, near the island of Martinique. Blackbeard was made the new captain of the stolen vessel, and he renamed the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.
As the new captain, Blackbeard overhauled the vessel’s armament from the original fourteen guns to forty guns and then spent the next year harassing ships near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He parked Queen Anne’s Revenge in Ocracoke or Beaufort Inlets and waited to attack unsuspecting captains and passing ships.
Blackbeard’s most famous use of the vessel was to blockade the port of Charleston, South Carolina in the May of 1718. Blackbeard used the Queen Anne’s Revenge, along with several other ships in his possession to line up across the bay of Charleston. He held the city hostage for several weeks, demanding food, money, and other supplies. Soon after the incident at Charleston, Blackbeard ran Queen Anne’s Revenge aground while attempting to enter Beaufort Inlet and the ship was abandoned.
Although many people wanted to find the pirate’s treasure that had sank with the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the wreckage was not found until 1996. Intersal Inc., a private company that locates and excavates valuable, historic shipwrecks, reported on November 21, 1996, that it had located a shipwreck near Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina.
After recovered artifacts were analyzed, Intersal announced that the legendary Queen Anne’s Revenge seemingly had been discovered. Although a definitive artifact has yet to be located at the shipwreck to ensure that it is indeed Queen Anne’s Revenge, mounting physical evidence and absence of another shipwreck provide strong support for Intersal’s claim.
It is widely accepted that the shipwreck discovered in the Beaufort Inlet is Queen Anne’s Revenge. Excavation and recovery of the vessel continues today under the direction of the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Branch.
Historic Beaufort, Blackbeard’s Ship: The Queen Anne’s Revenge, http://www.historicbeaufort.com/, (last accessed September 27, 2010); North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources: Underwater Archaeology Branch, Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck Project, http://www.qaronline.org/ (last accessed September 27, 2010); North Carolina Office of Archives and History, the North Carolina Maritime Museum Project, http://www.ncmaritime.org/ (last accessed September 27, 2010).