During the War of the Spanish Succession, the island of New Providence in the Bahamas is home to pirates, thieves and cutthroats all ruled by the feared pirate captain Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, who is believed to be dead by the British Empire, however he is merely in hiding. Calling himself "Commodore", he now uses this island as his base of operations.
According to the first episode, "At its height, the British Empire was the most powerful force humanity had ever known. Fully 1/5 of the world's population lived and died under the British flag. Yet its true power was not on land but on the sea where they ruled with the most brutal and efficient military force that has ever been: the British Navy. But the oceans that this navy sought to control were vast, unknowable and full of terrible danger. And for all the Crown's might, its ships were often lost to starvation, to storm and tempest, and to pirates. So it was in 1712, the Crown offered a prince's fortune to whomever could create a device that would allow its navy to navigate this great emptiness with a precision never before known. With this device, the Empire would increase its dominion over the world. But without it, the ships of the Crown would continue to be easy prey, not only from the gods and monsters of legend, but from a monster far more brutal and far more real."