Kage Baker is dancing somewhere in the Uttermost West. She is swigging rum from her battered old pewter cup with the seahorse handle – though I’m sure it’s got a girlie red parasol sticking out of it. But it’ll have a tiny cutlass, too, with lots of maraschino cherries impaled on it like candied heads; and maybe an undead monkey clinging to a swanky glass swizzle stick, too. She’ll be celebrating, you see.
The Queen’s Anne’s Revenge has been found! http://tinyurl.com/3qoe763
That was Blackbeard’s flagship: that would be good old horrible Edward Teach for any of you lubbers insufficiently acquainted with the history of the Golden Age of Piracy. She was the Queen of his armada: huge, fast, beautiful, armed to the teeth. (That Blackbeard had an armada was only part of his blood-curdling success.) She was scuttled off the coast of North Carolina, just before Blackbeard and his jolly, wicked crew sailed off to Ocracoke Inlet and the last, best, worst, craziest pirate barbecue ever.
It’s assumed by some scholars that Blackbeard sank the Queen Anne’s Revenge because he intended to survive Ocracoke and go back for his treasure when he’d gotten rid of a lot of that jolly, wicked crew – not only do dead men tell no tales, they don’t demand shares of the loot, either. He was justly notorious for deciding his crew was disposable, and the indications are good that he had enough gold stashed away to head off happily into the sunset and retire.
However … the party at Ocracoke got out of hand. It ran a little over. Everyone was drunk, no was keeping watch, the Governor of North Carolina sold out his dear business friend Edward Teach to the British Navy. Maybe Blackbeard himself told off the Brits and meant to have them clean up his inconvenient crew – there a lot of theories about how it happened, and why he left the Queen on the bottom of the sea before he sailed for Ocracoke.
Regardless of Blackbeard’s reasons, it’s what happened. He might have escaped nonetheless, if the man who cornered him had not been Lt. Robert Maynard – the oldest lieutenant in the British Navy, and reportedly pretty bad-tempered about it. Maynard was not a happy man and was not made any more cheerful when he ran his ship aground trying to get to Blackbeard. While Maynard held Blackbeard more or less at bay in hand to hand fighting on his own deck, a British sailor with a claimorgh cut off Blackbeard’s head. It took two hacks, even with a claimorgh; after which, it is reported that Blackbeard’s body leaped overboard and swam 7 times around the ship …
His head went back for trial and display. No one ever found his treasure or the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Most everyone else got hanged. Maynard still didn’t get a promotion and died a lieutenant. No happy endings here, I’m afraid; although a hell of a story.
But now! Now she has been found, the queen of pirates all! Actually, it turns out she was found 15 years ago, and the researchers have been more or less sitting on the formal identification all this while … who knows why? They have had to admit they found her because of a coming display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort: which would otherwise have had to be titled something like “Some Stuff That Might Be From Blackbeard’s Pirate Ship”…
Awkward, that. Though it is amusing to wonder if, behind the scenes, there is still some wrestling going on over who gets all the loot aboard the Queen Anne … cursed pirate gold, haaar!
Whatever the reasons, she is found and properly identified now, and there must be much rejoicing in pirate-minded paradises everywhere. Hence Kage with her triumphal cocktail; presumably now dancing a two-hand with a tall, blackavised villain with his grinning head underneath his arm …