Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum…

You might not know it, but 292 years ago, November 22 was a day of celebration for folks on both sides of the Atlantic. Why, you ask? Because a certain English pirate named Edward Teach (but you probably know him as Blackbeard) was finally captured and killed in a bloody skirmish in Ocracoke Inlet.

Blackbeard was one of the most notorious pirates ever to plague the Atlantic coast. He was also one of the most colorful pirates of all time, becoming the model for countless blood-and-thunder tales of sea rovers. His daring exploits, personal courage, terrifying appearance, and fourteen wives made him a legend in his own lifetime.

The legends and myths about Blackbeard have become wilder rather than tamer in the years since his gory but valiant death. Even my own eighth-grade teacher insisted the ghost of Blackbeard still roamed the earth, traveling from school to school to talk about his life (although we all knew he was just a living history impersonator dressed as the pirate). But in remembrance of Blackbeard, we’re posting the story of his final day in Ocracoke Inlet, excerpted from Blackbeard the Pirate by Robert E. Lee. Here’s to the man who left behind legends that frightened children and inspired teachers to trick their students!

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