Piracy is the act of robbery at sea. Throughout the existance of commerce and trade, there have always existed those who benefit illegally through the capturing of ships and goods. These men are commonly known as pirates. Edward Teach, more commonly known as Blackbeard, was the most notorious pirate in the history of seafaring. With a beard that almost covered his face, he would strike terror into the hearts of his victims usually without even having to put up a fight. Blackbeard is, without a doubt, the most famous pirate of all time because of his outlandish appearance and behavior, scandalous achievements, and reputation that has long outlived him.
The sight of Blackbeard was enough to make most of his adversaries surrender without a fight. If they gave up peacefully, he would usually take their valuables, navigational instruments, weapons, and rum before allowing them to sail away. If they resisted, he would often maroon the crews and burn their ship. It was more often than not that Blackbeard's oppenents surrendered after the first sight of him (Butler 21). As stated by Captain Charles Johnson, "his eyes naturally looking fierce and wild, made him altogether such a figure, that imagination cannot form an idea of a fury, from Hell, to look more frightful" (qtd. in Butler 20). A big man, he added to his menacing appearance by wearing a crimson coat, two swords at his waist, and bandoleers stuffed with six pistols and numerous knives across his chest. Even more frightful was his style of intimidation with the use of "smoldering lengths of hempen cord soaked in saltpeter [which] produced thick black smoke around Blackbeard's head" (Platt 31). His behavior proved to be even more abscure than his appearance: "people have specualated that Blackbeard had actually grounded his ships on purpose to reduce the number of pirates with whom to divide the spoils" (Butler 20-21). Even more disturbing was his actions toward his closest companions.