The Queen Anne's Revenge was a huge pirate ship commanded by Edward "Blackbeard" Teach in 1717-18. Originally a French slave ship that Blackbeard captured and modified, she was one of the most formidable pirate ships ever built, carrying 40 guns and enough room for many men and booty.
The origins of the ship
Before Queen Anne's Revenge became Blackbeard's flagship, it was a French slave ship called La Concorde. By examining a variety of primary and secondary documents in French, researchers were able to reconstruct a limited history of La Concorde.
This Google Map approximates the historical locations on the map and provides the information originally researched and produced by Allison Suggs, Karen Browning and Dr. Jacques Ducoin.
- The green: Represents a privateer trip from 1710.
- The black : Represents the first slave voyage of the Concorde.
- Yellow: Represents the second voyage of slavery.
- Red: Represents the third and last voyage of slavery.
A wealth of slaves and sugar
The eminent French merchant, René Montaudoin, was the owner of the ship, which operated from the port of Nantes. French documents record three slave trading expeditions of the Concorde de Montaudoin: one in 1713, a second in 1715, and the third and last voyage in 1717. Unfortunately, it is not clear how Montaudoin acquired La Concorde or when and where the ship was built.
In the 18th century, Nantes, located at the mouth of the Loire River, was the center of the French slave trade. For much of that century, the Montaudoin family ran the main business involved in this evil but lucrative venture.
Triangular trade and the diaspora
Ships left Nantes in the spring, loaded with commercial goods, and sailed down the west coast of Africa. There, the captain would buy a cargo of enslaved Africans to be transported to the New World. The transatlantic voyage, known as the Middle Passage, would take up to two months.
Africans were usually sold to the French islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, or St. Dominica where they worked as laborers in the sugar cane fields. Emptied of their human cargo, the ships would take on new goods, usually sugar, and return to France.
The beginning of the end
The last voyage of La Concorde and the capture of the ship by pirates are documented in the depositions filed by two of the ship's officers, Captain Pierre Dosset and Lieutenant François Ernaut, when both finally returned to France. These depositions were obtained from the Loire-Atlantique Departmental Archives in Nantes by Mike Daniel, President of the Institute for Maritime Research.
According to the reports of Dosset and Ernaut, La Concorde left Nantes on March 24, 1717. The 200-ton ship was armed with sixteen cannons and had a crew of seventy-five. On July 8, La Concorde arrived at the port of Judas, or Whydah, in present-day Benin. There they embarked a cargo of 516 captive Africans. The captain and officers also obtained about twenty pounds of gold dust for their own account.
Blackbeard's Meeting : The Coup de Grace of La Concorde
The Concorde took nearly eight weeks to cross the Atlantic and the ordeals of the famous Middle Passage took its toll on both the Africans and the French crew. By the time they reached the New World, seventy-one slaves and sixteen crew members had perished.
After crossing the Atlantic, only 100 miles from Martinique, the French ship met Blackbeard and his crew.
From Concord to Bad Encounter
Pirates took La Concorde to the island of Bequia in the Grenadines where the French crew and African slaves were put ashore. While the pirates searched La Concorde, the French cabin boy, Louis Arot, informed them of the gold dust on board. The pirates searched the French officers and crew and seized the gold.
The cabin boy and 3 of his French crewmates voluntarily joined the pirates, and 10 others were taken by force, including a pilot, 3 surgeons, 2 carpenters, 2 sailors and the cook. Blackbeard and his crew decided to keep La Concorde and left the smaller of the two pirate sloops to the French.
The French gave their new and much smaller ship the name of Mauvaise Rencontre and in 2 voyages they managed to transport the other Africans from Bequia to Martinique.
An increasingly dangerous pirate force, 1717-1718
Leaving Bequia at the end of November, Blackbeard with his new ship, now renamed Queen Anne's Revenge, sailed across the Caribbean, winning awards and adding to his fleet. According to David Moore's research, from the Grenadines, Blackbeard sailed north along the Lesser Antilles' raiders near St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Nevis and Antigua, and by early December had arrived off the eastern tip of Puerto Rico.
From there, a former captive reported that the pirates were heading toward the Bay of Samana in Hispaniola, Dominican Republic.
In April 1718, the pirates were off the Turneffe Islands in the Bay of Honduras. It was there that Blackbeard captured the adventure sloop, forcing the sloop's captain, David Herriot, to join him. Sailing east again, the pirates passed near the Cayman Islands and captured a Spanish sloop off Cuba, which they also added to their fleet.
Blackbeard Terrorist Charleston, 1718
En tournant vers le nord, ils ont traversé les Bahamas et remonté la côte nord-américaine. En mai 1718, les pirates arrivent au large de Charleston, en Caroline du Sud, avec Queen Anne's Revenge et 3 sloops plus petits.
Dans l'acte peut-être le plus effronté de sa carrière pirate, Barbe Noire a bloquer le port de Charleston pendant près d'une semaine. Les pirates ont saisi plusieurs navires qui tentaient d'entrer ou de sortir du port et ont détenu l'équipage et les passagers d'un navire, le Crowley, comme prisonniers.
Comme rançon pour les otages, Barbe Noire à exiger un coffre de médicaments. Une fois livrés, les captifs ont été relâchés et les pirates ont poursuivi leur voyage le long de la côte.
Accidents off North Carolina
Shortly after leaving Charleston, Blackbeard's fleet attempted to enter Old Topsail Inlet in North Carolina, now known as Beaufort Inlet. During this attempt, Queen Anne's Revenge and the sloop Adventure ran aground on the ocean bar and were abandoned. Research by David Moore and other researchers uncovered two eyewitness accounts that shed light on where the two pirate ships were lost.
Captain Ellis Brand of the HMS Lyme provided additional information on the location where the two ships were lost in a letter (July 12, 1718) to the Lords of the Admiralty. In that letter, Brand stated that: "On about June 10, a large 40-gun ship with three Sloops in her company arrived on the North Carolina coast. They attempted to enter a harbor, called Topsail Inlet, the ship stuck at the entrance to the harbor was lost as one of the sloops.
Discovery of Blackbeard's ship
On November 21, 1996, a research team from the private research firm Intersal, Inc. operating under a permit from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources found a group of guns and anchors on the seabed near historic Beaufort Inlet.
Several artifacts were recovered from the North Carolina wreckage site, including a bronze bell dated 1705, a sounding weight, an English trumpet cannon, a lead apron and two cannon balls.
Queen Anne's Revenge is Confirmed
These early 18th century artifacts, nine cannon tubes and two large anchors led researchers to conclude that it was the wreck of Blackbeard's pirate flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge (QAR).
Blackbeard's fan? Here is the Model of the Pirate Ship Queen Anne's Revenge
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