1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Blackbeard For Kids


Blackbeard's Final Fight
Interim Archives/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Blackbeard for Kids:

This article is a biography of Blackbeard the pirate written for younger readers. Grown-up readers may want to visit this Biography of Blackbeard page, or see Ten Facts About Blackbeard..

Blackbeard was a fearsome pirate who attacked other people's ships a long time ago, in the years 1717-1718. He tried very hard to be scary, making his long black hair and beard smoke while he was fighting. He died while fighting ships sent to catch him and bring him to jail. Here are the answers to all your Blackbeard questions!

Was Blackbeard his real name?:

No, that’s just what people called him because he had a long black beard. His real name was Edward Thatch.

Why was he a pirate?:

Blackbeard was a pirate because it was a lot easier than working on navy or merchant ships. Back then, if you worked for merchants or were in the navy, life was very hard. The captains would beat you, people were sick all the time and you might not even get paid for the work you did. Being a pirate was a lot easier. That’s why Blackbeard and all his crew were pirates instead of honest sailors.

What did pirates do?:

Back then, pirates sailed around places they thought other ships would be. Once they found another ship, they would raise their pirate flag and attack. Usually the other ships just gave up once they saw the flag, because pirates would be extra mean to them if they put up a fight. The pirates would then steal everything the ship was carrying.

What sort of stuff did pirates steal?:

Pirates stole anything that they could use or sell. If a ship had cannons or other good weapons, the pirates would take them. They stole food and alcohol. If there was any gold or silver, they would steal it. The ships they robbed were usually merchants - men who would buy things in one place, and then sell them somewhere else. These ships carried things like cocoa, tobacco, cow hides or cloth. If the pirates thought they could sell the stuff, they took it.

Did Blackbeard leave behind any buried treasure?:

Lots of people think so, but probably not. Pirates preferred to spend their gold and silver and not bury it somewhere. Also, most of the treasure he stole was things like food and tobacco that would get ruined if he buried it.

Who were some of Blackbeard's friends?:

Blackbeard had friends who were pirates too. He learned how to be a pirate from a man named Benjamin Hornigold, who was a famous pirate. One of his friends was Major Stede Bonnet, who didn't really know much about being a pirate so Blackbeard helped him. Another friend was Charles Vane, who had several chances to stop being a pirate but he never took them.

Why was Blackbeard so famous?:

Blackbeard was famous because he was a very scary pirate. When he knew he was going to attack someone’s ship, he put smoky fuses in his long black hair and beard. He also wore pistols strapped to his body. Some sailors who saw him in battle actually thought he was the devil! While he was still a pirate, out at sea somewhere, people on land and in ships were very afraid of him.

Did Blackbeard have a family?:

According to Captain Charles Johnson, who lived at the same time as Blackbeard, he had fourteen wives! This probably isn’t true, but it seems likely that Blackbeard did get married sometime in 1718 in North Carolina. There is no record of him ever having any kids.


Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 1996

Defoe, Daniel (Captain Charles Johnson). A General History of the Pyrates. Edited by Manuel Schonhorn. Mineola: Dover Publications, 1972/1999.

Konstam, Angus. The World Atlas of Pirates. Guilford: the Lyons Press, 2009

Woodard, Colin. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down. Mariner Books, 2008.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.