for National Geographic News
In 1718 the pirate Blackbeard met North Carolina Governor Charles Eden in the colonial capital of Bath and promised to help the local economy in whatever way he could.
Nearly three centuries later, Blackbeard is still making a financial contribution to Bath. Visitors are drawn to the quiet, picturesque town to learn about the days when Blackbeard and his lawless crew ruled the seas.
"He's one of our biggest draws," said Bea Latham of the Historic Bath Visitor Center.
"Most people who come in do ask about Blackbeard's time here."
Blackbeard's brief but memorable residency in North Carolina is part of the story depicted in the new television feature Blackbeard: Terror at Sea. The docudrama will air March 12 on the National Geographic Channel.
(National Geographic News is a division of the National Geographic Society, which is part owner of the National Geographic Channel.)
The film is based on research by London author Dan Parry and David Moore, a curator with the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. They uncovered the story of a man who seemed determined to be remembered long after his death.
Bath residents know that their town's most famous citizen is one of history's most notorious criminals. But they're still fond of him.
"We like to think that maybe he was a little bit different when he was here in town," Latham said.
Who Was Blackbeard?
The fearsome pirate left reminders of his legacy elsewhere on the North Carolina coast.
In Plymouthabout 30 miles (50 kilometers) from Bathactor Ben Cherry has made a full-time career of doing Blackbeard impersonations.
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