Willie Drye in Plymouth, North Carolina

for National Geographic News

Published August 29, 2011

After 15 years of uncertainty, a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina has been confirmed as that of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, state officials say.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge grounded on a sandbar near Beaufort (see map) in 1718, nine years after the town had been established. Blackbeard and his crew abandoned the ship and survived.

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"Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them."