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MUSEUM OF THE ALBEMARLE

Piracy also a part of Albemarle's history

Meads, Lori 2016.jpg

Lori Meads

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Lori Meads
Columnist

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Albemarle Region is unique being that it is half land and half water. From the beginning, water has been a way of life here. Water has served as a barrier, a bountiful resource and a threatening force — a source of livelihood and inspiration.

Becoming a Royal Colony meant growth along the waterways, but as it turned out, waterways also led to piracy. The Albemarle Region offered both prey and refuge to pirates. The Golden Age of Piracy, ca. 1650 – ca. 1720 was an exciting time during the early settlement of America. Free spirited and courageous people could venture out into the world by boarding a ship and sailing into the horizon. A pirate’s life was appealing to many men and women.

For the Province of Carolina, Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, was the most infamous pirate. Blackbeard sailed as a private during the Queen Anne’s War, 1701-1714. In 1716, he served as an apprenticeship under Captain Benjamin Hornigold. The La Concord was captured in 1717 and turned into a pirate ship. Blackbeard convinced Hornigold that he was ready to manage his own ship, renaming the La Concord the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Blackbeard set sail and terrorized the Carolinas. Blackbeard was well known for his height, long black hair and braided beard tied with ribbons. To finish his look, he wore fuses that were meant to light the cannons under his hat giving a smoky appearance, crossed leather straps across his chest with pistols and more pistols with a dagger and cutlass around his waist. It has been said that Blackbeard, Governor Charles Eden, and Secretary Tobias Knight were friends, leading to pardons for Blackbeard.

Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood, after receiving complaints of Blackbeard’s recklessness, ordered to have him captured or killed. Blackbeard met his death on Nov. 22, 2018 at Ocracoke Inlet.

Many historical sites and communities are commemorating the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard along the North Carolina Coast this year. The Museum of the Albemarle will celebrate by providing visitors not only the opportunity to view artifacts of the Queen Anne’s Revenge in Our Story but also by providing the opportunity to travel back in time and experience life of a pirate.

The Museum of the Albemarle collaborated with the Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies in 2016. Students in 7th and 8th grades participated in the project Shark Tank: Discovery Room Redesign. Students worked as teams to develop ideas that would be presented to staff at NEAAAT. Seven teams were selected to make presentations to museum staff for a final decision. Selecting a winning team did not come without discussion and debate. The teams presented their ideas well. Each group had its own unique ideas, ways to implement the ideas, and ways to target different audiences. The winning team consisted of members Amy Bishop, Zoe Sawyer, and Worth Elliott.

The next time you visit the Museum, please take a moment to visit the Discovery Room with the new theme Discover: Sail the High Seas.

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