British Empire > Bath


Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration


Bath was the first major settlement in the Province of North Carolina that began in 1705. European settlement on the Pamlico River had previously begun a decade or so earlier in the 1690's. The location of Bath seemed perfect as it was near the river which had easy access to the Atlantic Ocean for shipping. The first settlers were French Protestants from the Colony and Dominion of Virginia and included John Lawson who was the surveyor general of the colony and author of the first history of Carolina which was published in 1709. Others included Christopher Gale who was the chief justice of the new colony.

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach - Bath Map (1737)

Bath, North Carolina Map (1737)

A local economy sprung up around stores, furs and tobacco and the settlement became the first port of entry into North Carolina. The first library would be built in 1701 when books were sent to St. Thomas Parish which also established a free school for Amerindians and Blacks. In 1707 a grist mill and the first shipyard in the Province of North Carolina was built. By 1708 the settlement of Bath contained about twelve houses and fifty colonial settlers.

The early history of Bath was tumultuous and suffered Amerindian raids, piracy, politics and disease. Events such as Cary's Rebellion saw an armed conflict regarding religion and politics in the new colony. An outbreak of Yellow Fever and severe drought would cripple the settlement in 1711 and the Tuscarora War following this between the disease weakened settlers and the Amerindian Tuscarora tribe erupted soon after. During this time Bath would become a safe haven for all settlers living in the outlying areas facing Indian raids and sieges.

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach

Bath was also the home of the famous Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach who had political allies with both Governor Charles Eden and Tobias Knight who was a judge and leading government official during that time. Teach was fond of the city due to its fifty mile easy access to his pirate haven on Ocracoke Island. It is also believed that Teach may have even had a house in the town or the surrounding area and that he may have been involved with a local girl.

Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach - Blackbeard, Buccaneer Cover

Blackbeard - Blackbeard, Buccaneer (1921)

However, Teach would be killed on 22 November of 1718 during the famous Battle of Ocracoke Inlet where he would be slain by pirate hunters led by Robert Maynard. They were commissioned by the Governor of Virginia named Alexander Spotswood who believed that Eden and possibly more were involved in piracy. Due to the murky circumstances regarding the 1718 King's Pardon, the high status of Blackbeard and maybe the fact the British thought of him more an ally than an enemy made his death not that popular. Spotswood never received the political victory he hoped over the Governor of North Carolina or Tobias Knight and Maynard would never get any glory from the ordeal either.

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