[Discussion Post] Did Blackbeard the Pirate Intentionally Sink the Queen Anne's Revenge?

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Hello everyone! The other day, I posted a discussion post about whether the Tasmanian Tiger truly is extinct. If you still wish to contribute to that conversation, there are still a couple days before payout. Today's discussion will be on a topic from a Smithsonian documentary which my parents and I watched last night: Whether or not Blackbeard the Pirate sank the Queen Anne's Revenge on purpose. First I will discuss what I learned from the documentary:

What I learned

Blackbeard was special in comparison to other pirates of the age because he thought strategically as opposed to acting on impulses. He often attempted to intimidate his enemies in order to avoid having to actually fight a battle. He would do this by lighting matches and sticking them under his hat so that smoke would seep out of him, and frighten the Heck out of his enemies. Through this method of intimidation, he managed to avoid a lot of fights. He actually took the Queen Anne's Revenge - formerly a French slave ship named La Concorde - without a fight, and let the crew and slaves go (aside from some slaves who remained in his crew). Here is a video about the Queen Anne's Revenge:

The Question up for Discussion

The Queen Anne's Revenge ultimately sank, and there are 2 main theories about why it sank.

Theory 1: Blackbeard Sank it

Some people believe that Blackbeard intentionally sank the Queen Anne's Revenge in order to get out of having to share his spoils with his crew. This theory is held because after the ship sank, many of the crew were captured and put on trial for their crimes. Many were eventually executed, but before their executions, they swore under oath that Blackbeard had intentionally sunk the Queen Anne's Revenge.

Theory 2: Blackbeard Messed Up

Some people believe that Blackbeard had no intentions of stopping his operation, and that he was trying to outmaneuver the British navy. He hoped that the danger of the area would cause the ships pursuing him either to stop or to sink, but he miscalculated and hit a sandbar.





So the question for discussion in the comments is: When Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge sank, did Blackbeard do it intentionally?

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If I am going to be honest, my opinion is that it was an accident. As menacing as it would be, why would Blackbeard feel the need to quit while he was ahead? He had had the Queen Anne's revenge for months, and a lot of what he was doing was going in his favor. I don't think Blackbeard would have quit at that point. If he had been one to quit while ahead, he would have quit much sooner.

That was a good documentary, wasn't it? Good topic for a post. Personally, I think that the sinking was accidental for three main reasons:

(i) He was apparently very successful at piracy, and I am skeptical that he had any plans to give it up. In fact, according to The Queen Anne's Revenge: Blackbeard's Mighty Pirate Ship, the QAR sank in June of 1718 and Blackbeard had already returned to piracy within a few months (before being killed by pirate hunters in November of the same year).

(ii) If Blackbeard was a strategic thinker like the narrator claimed, he would have known that betraying his crew would harm his credibility and impair his ability to recruit in the future.

(iii) As they discussed in the documentary, the underwater archaeologists found an anchor on the ground that was positioned as-if the crew had tried to use it to drag the ship off of the sand bar and back out to deeper water.

FYI, here is another interesting video on the underwater recovery effort, although it's more than half a decade old now:


P.S. No upvote necessary. Conserve the beneficiary rewards for others who might still join the discussion.

The thing about point iii is that the anchor doesn't prove that Blackbeard tried to save the ship. It proves that someone did, but it very well could have been the crew trying to save the ship after Blackbeard ditched them. I am just playing the devils advocate.

I agree with i and ii though.

That is a good point that hadn't occurred to me. Even if Blackbeard had abandoned ship, his crew still would have wanted to escape from the ships that were hunting for them.