Blackbeard's Castle – St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands - Atlas Obscura

Blackbeard's Castle

Rumored to be the famed pirate's lookout tower, this historic stone structure is now just watching for tourists. 


Located in the beautiful Virgin Islands, Blackbeard’s Castle is a popular attraction based on its history of pirates and smugglers, a history that may be nothing more than scuttlebutt. 

One of five National Historic Landmarks located among the Virgin Islands, the “castle,” which is actually a fairly simple tower, was originally built in 1679 as a military watchtower by Danish colonists. The building was originally known as Skytsborg Tower, meaning “sky tower,” and actually existed for years before the tower’s current namesake even reached the region. Blackbeard was known to operate in and around the Virgin Islands in the early 1700s and it is not impossible that he used the aging tower as a base of operations, but no evidence has been presented to back this up. Despite the lack of evidence and the unlikely dates, stories of Blackbeard using, and even building, the tower for his nefarious dealings have continued to proliferate and at some point the pirate’s legacy took over the entire identity of the tower.

Today the historic stone lookout is the centerpiece of a thriving tourist industry centered on Blackbeard’s exploits. With a figure as legendary as Blackbeard bland facts matter much less than romantic tales. 

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