What was Blackbeard's ship at the start?
Blackbeard did not start his piratical career as the admiral of a large pirate fleet; he had more humble beginnings as an understudy of the great 'dean of pirates' Benjamin Hornigold. While not much is known of Hornigold's early life, it is known that he schooled other men in piracy who went on to become successful pirates in their own right: Samuel Bellamy and Blackbeard most notable among them.
Blackbeard's Ship #1: The 'Queen Anne's Revenge' -
After a year of successful plundering as Hornigold's protege', Blackbeard helped capture a French merchantman the 'Le Concorde de Nantes' off the island of St. Vincent in late 1717. This ship was captured by the French in 1711 and was originally the 'Concord' of Bristol, England, a slaver built in 1710 for the Swymmer Brothers. It was over 100 feet long, weighed 200 tons, and had between fourteen and twenty guns.
Captain Hornigold was so impressed with his skills, he immediately made the newly-acquired 'Concorde' Blackbeard's ship. He renamed her the 'Queen Anne's Revenge', increased the number of guns to forty, and parted ways with Hornigold to enter the next phase of his brief but stellar career.QAR project / Queen Anne's Revenge Artifacts / Queen Anne's Revenge Restaurant
The next ship Blackbeard added: The 'Revenge' -
Somewhere between late 1717 and early 1718, Blackbeard met the 'Gentleman Pirate' Stede Bonnet while on a journey toward Honduras. It took only a few days on the waters as partners for Blackbeard to realize that a plantation owner who bought his own pirate ship knew very little about sailing and less about inspiring a crew. To the relief of Bonnet's men, Blackbeard acquired Bonnet's ten-gun 'Revenge' and placed Lieutenant Richards at the helm. Mr. Bonnet was now free to content himself with his personal library which he brought along.
Find more when you sail over to The Blackbeard Shop.
Then was his ship: The 'Adventure' -
Around March 1718 near the Bay of Honduras, Blackbeard and company encountered the 80-ton trading sloop 'Adventure' while taking water at an island. Captain David Herriot accepted the gracious invitation to become a part of the group, and Blackbeard's first mate Israel hands was placed in charge of the eighty-ton, ten-gun vessel.
"A thorough, exciting examination of 18th-century pirate life,with wonderful details.
A quick demise-
In early June of 1718, Blackbeard carried out his plans to to part ways with Stede Bonnet and most of his crew, so the recently-acquired loot would divide to larger shares. With Israel Hand's help, he staged the loss at Topsail (now Beaufort) Inlet, NC, of the 'Queen Anne's Revenge' on a sandbar and the 'Adventure' in rescue attempt. After convincing Bonnet to go to Bath, North Carolina for a pardon, the 'Queen Anne's Revenge', 'Adventure', and 'Revenge' were stripped of all valuables, and the loot was loaded into a fourth eight-gun sloop acquired off Havana now named the 'Adventure'.
Stede Bonnet returned to find his ship completely stripped but intact. He set out with some remaining crew members to punish Blackbeard for the theft, but never saw him again. Bonnet was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, on December 10, 1718.
Blackbeard and the remaining loyal crew of at least twenty set out for Bath to receive pardon. The novelty of civilian life wore thin in a few months, and Blackbeard resumed the pirating life. The fall of 1718 saw Blackbeard running from the law in Philadelphia, engaging in mischief over an 'abandoned' French merchant ship in North Carolina, partying at Ocracoke Island, and finally meeting his match in Lieutenant Robert Maynard at Ocracoke Inlet on November 22nd.
After a fierce battle aboard the Lieutenant's sloop, the mighty pirate succumbed to his many wounds and fell dead to the deck. Maynard beheaded the king of all pirates, displaying the head on the bowsprit of his vessel. Thirteen of the remaning pirate crew were hung in Williamsburg, Virginia, in March 1719. What happened to Blackbeard's ship, 'Adventure' is unknown.
* This is not an exhaustive treatment of every ship associated wtih Blackbeard, but the basic facts about the ships most frequently mentioned.