Believe it or not, today marks the 10th anniversary of Talk Like a Pirate Day. In honor of such a momentous occasion, I thought I would dedicate a blog post to Charleston's pirate history.
Back in the early 1700s Charleston, known as Charles Towne at that time, was a thriving port city and British North America's wealthiest. Around that time, pirates also began to flourish and initially local merchants didn't seem to mind.
Fed up with having to pay excessive taxes to England, the merchants looked for ways to trade with pirates with the hope of turning a better profit.
In time, though, pirates began attacking merchant ships and terrorizing the Atlantic seaboard, such as the time pirate Edward Teach (better known as the infamous Blackbeard) held the Holy City for ransom by taking several hostages and agreeing to let them go only if the governor provided his crew with medical supplies. The governor complied.
Such brazen attacks were upsetting to the merchants, and soon pirates became outlaws.
The city of Charleston is about 30 minutes from 48 Ocean Point. It's easy enough to drive there and park the car so you can tour the historic sections on foot. If you do happen to make this trek, check out some of the pirate-themed tours and attractions the city has to offer.
It is not uncommon to take a stroll along the beaches near Charleston and observe a treasure hunter with metal detector in hand, searching for pirate booty. Pirates would often bury their riches in the white sands with intentions of returning later, but sometimes a hangman's noose got in the way.
Charleston Pirate Tours is one of the best reviewed tours in Charleston. From their website: "In authentic costume & accompanied by Capt. Bob, the parrot, Eric Lavender shares stories of the pirates who plundered, partied, and perished in Charles Towne and brings Charleston's Golden Age of Piracy to life with stories of Blackbeard's siege of the city, the capture and execution of Stede Bonnet and other pirates, the romance between Calico Jack and Anne Bonny, and much more! Along the way, learn about the city’s most historical buildings and events."
Another place you may want to visit is The Pirate House, built in 1704. According to legend the Bermuda stone dwelling once served as a boarding house, gambling den and place where local merchants could trade with pirates to avoid paying the excessive British import tax.
The reign of pirates in the Carolinas lasted a relatively short time, but the history continues to live on. Exploring this history is something the whole family can enjoy together. Speaking of family fun, if all this pirate talk inspires you to test your sea legs, don't forget the schooner Pride – an 84-foot, 3-masted tall ship – offers charter and evening cruises.
Photo: Queen Anne's Revenge