Villainous Blackbeard may be innocent of one of the most notorious charges against him

December 8th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 8 (ANI): A new research has found that Blackbeard, one of the most feared pirates in history, may be innocent of one of the most notorious charges against him, namely, sinking his ship to swindle his crew in 1718.

For almost 300 years, the British pirate captain has stood accused of deliberately sinking his flagship, Queen Annes Revenge, so he could swindle his crew out of their share of loot they had plundered.

Historians have long believed that Blackbeard intentionally grounded his largest vessel so that he could split up his followers in the ensuing chaos, thus downsizing his crew and ensuring the loot was transferred to another vessel.

But, according to a report in the Telegraph, marine archaeologists, who are conducting a diving expedition on the vessels presumed wreck, now believe it may have run aground by accident.

They have even found evidence suggesting that Blackbeard made repeated attempts to rescue the stricken craft.

The team also discovered a large pile of ballast, including anchors and several cannon, in the middle section of the ship.

They believe that Blackbeard might have ordered the crew to move the heavy items from their original positions, near the bow of the vessel, back towards the stern, in an effort to lift the vessels bows from the submerged sandbank onto which it had run.

It follows the discovery of an anchor on the sea bed, 450ft (137m) away from the ship, which experts believe would have been used to try to winch the boat free.

If Blackbeard had intended to sink the ship on purpose, this seems an awful lot of labour and effort to make it look good to the crew, to allay their fears that he was abandoning them, said Chris Southerly, chief archaeologist for the project.

According to Southerly, the main ballast pile, which has two large anchors and at least six cannon and a huge pile of ballast stones, is just about amidships, roughly where the upper aft deck would have started.

It would have been very hard to move things further aft than that, because the deck is on a different level and there is a wall in the way. They may have moved things as far aft as could easily be done, to try to save the ship and then abandoned the effort, realising it still wouldnt save the ship, he said.

The impression, from what I have seen, is that it was an accident, he added. (ANI)

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