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Looting, raping, plundering, but also moments of respite with a book?

It turns out that the image of pirates that has survived to our times has a few white spots, the completion of which may surprise many. Fragments of books have been discovered on the wreck of a ship that once belonged to the famous pirate Blackbeard. So did the pirates who were the terror of
Published: January 21, 2018 - 19:08
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:21
Looting, raping, plundering, but also moments of respite with a book?

It turns out that the image of pirates that has survived to our times has a few white spots, the completion of which may surprise many. Fragments of books have been discovered on the wreck of a ship that once belonged to the famous pirate Blackbeard. So did the pirates who were the terror of the seven seas devote their free time to reading?

North Carolina archaeologists investigating the remains of Blackbeard’s flagship Queen Anne’s Revenge have found sixteen fragments of books in the sludgy slush inside one of the cannons. It is a real miracle that pieces of paper resting on the seabed since the 18th century were found at all.

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The conservators spent months securing the fragments, the largest of which were the size of an American quarter. After the work was completed, however, individual words or fragments of words could be read on the secured pieces. From these it was established that they came from Captain Edward Cooke’s 1712 book ‘A Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the World’.

[blockquote style=”2″]”This extremely rare discovery proves that in the early 18th century, there were books on ships. It also completes the picture we have of Blackbeard’s flagship and its crew. Historical legends mention books on board Queen Anne’s Revenge several times, but until now we did not know any title. We are dealing with a real breakthrough here.”[/blockquote]

According to historian Simon Layton, in Blackbeard’s time many pirates could read and took books from ships they were pillaging. He also adds that some of them ended up in pieces, as they were perfect for wedging cargo in a cannon or for sealing a flare. Not least, they often made the crew’s time spent on the voyage more pleasant.

Especially if these were volumes describing travels, interesting lands and places to sail to. This type of reading was certainly popular with many a pirate, making the time between raids more enjoyable.

Source: theguardian

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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