Probably everyone who read “Treasure Island” as a child, then dreamed of going on a schooner to unknown lands and finding a box with gold. Pirate treasures, buried somewhere deep in the earth, excite the imagination of many children and adolescents. Some of them continue to search even becoming adults. The problem is that pirate treasures are a literary invention, not a historical fact.
For a start, the most important thing: the pirates did not bury the treasure! Mainly because they had nothing to bury. Another reason, of course, is that the meaning of such actions is not clear. Why bury your own money in an area where you can hardly return? This requires some special reasons. Such causes are rare. It is much more reasonable to spend the loot than to hide it somewhere.
Here we must understand the peculiarities of such a phenomenon as piracy. Speech on piracy of the end of the XVI-th-mid XVIII centuries. The fact is that at the beginning of the sea robbery was quite legal occupation. And people who have achieved particular success on the basis of robbery and seizures, then made a good career. Christopher Mings, one of the most successful English captors of the 17th century, at the end of his short life became a vice-admiral. His "disciple" Henry Morgan, famous for plundering Panama, graduated from the century as vice-governor of Jamaica. Dutch filibuster Pete Hein, the only person in history who managed to capture the Spanish Silver Fleet, also received the rank of admiral, and the famous Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Ducasse was appointed Governor of Tortuga as a reward for achievements in sea robbery.
These people made very good careers. Mining in their pockets was converted into various kinds of luxury goods and real estate. The situation changed at the beginning of the XVIIIth century, when France, Holland and especially England no longer needed the services of sea robbers. In 1718, piracy was banned. A little earlier, it ceased to be a profitable and profitable business.
The famous pirates Jack Reckham, Blackbeard, Edward England and Bart Roberts were not that completely poor, but not rich people. These captains went on the sloops - small ships with 10−12 guns and a small team. They could not even dream of capturing any large prey. Famous Spanish galleons, which, moreover, went out of fashion in the 18th century, could sink such a sloop with one or two volleys. The "clients" of the pirates were small merchant ships. On such especially you will not profit. A couple of boxes of tobacco, a barrel of other rum, five to ten pounds from the pockets of prisoners. And this is a great success. But it's not so bad.
One of the many pirate treasure cards.
The main problem was that the pirates had almost no opportunity to convert tobacco, sugar or coffee into money. In the conditions of strict customs duties and rules, constant inspections and trade licenses, it was almost impossible to find a buyer. Another merchant, perhaps, would be ready to buy tobacco, but at a price substantially lower than the cost price. A chest with gold doubloons was simply nowhere to take. And if such riches fell into the hands of pirates, then it did not linger for long. However, there was almost no such case. Perhaps the only known incident occurred with the famous Bart Roberts, who managed to seize the 40-gun Portuguese ship Sagrada Familia. It was a fantastic action in audacity and readiness. The vessel was seized in the middle of the night in the Bayi harbor when two battleships were nearby. In the holds Roberts discovered a real mountain of gold. Somewhere 60 thousand Spanish doubloons (approximately 23 thousand dollars in our times).
Bart Roberts and his team.
Another jewel was a gold cross with precious stones, which the governor of Brazil sent as a gift to King Juan V. This mining could well have become a treasure if Roberts literally did not increase the mining. One of his officers, William Kennedy, took advantage of the absence of the captain, raised a riot and drove off the Sagrada Familia. The fate of the Roberts' doubloons remains unknown.
Some famous treasures
Treasures of William Kidd.
The legendary treasure of no less than the legendary captain Kidd, whom he allegedly buried somewhere shortly before the execution. Kidd's story is widely known. He had to rob the merchant ships of the powers hostile to England in the Indian Ocean. As a result, Kidd attacked a friendly merchant ship, was outlawed, and then was sentenced to death and executed. According to legend, before returning to England, Kidd went to the Caribbean, where he buried treasure. Estimated location - one of the small islands near New York.
The sad truth is that there was nothing to hide Kiddu except, perhaps, ship ropes. Captured prey was divided between him and the team. Besides, if Kidd had gold, he most likely would not have finished his days on the gallows. In 1701, English laws were still very democratic with regard to pirates. Money could significantly reduce the sentence.
Treasures of Henry Morgan.
In 1672, the legendary Henry Morgan undertook a daring raid on Panama by land and captured truly phenomenal prey in this city. In modern terms, somewhere around 700 million dollars. The lion's share of this amount, Morgan was forced to "donate" the English crown. During his march through the isthmus, the situation in the world changed, and Spain and England turned from enemies into allies. Morgan managed not only to redeem his life and earn royal forgiveness, but also to obtain the position of vice-governor of Jamaica. Arriving in Port Royal, Morgan settled in the largest house of the city, led a very dissolute life and literally spent money on money.
Henry Morgan and the captured Spaniards.
He died of cirrhosis in 1688 and was buried with honors in St. Catherine’s Church in Port Royal. According to legend, in the crypt under the church, under the will of Morgan, a huge chest was hidden. The problem is that in 1692 the city was literally wiped out by an earthquake and a storm. The church, along with the grave of Morgan, collapsed. Now on the site of the city is a deserted beach. Somewhere below it, hypothetically, you can find the treasures of Morgan.
Treasures of the Black Beard.
Absolutely mythical treasure, which Edward Teach, nicknamed Blackbeard, buried on one of the tiny islands in the Caribbean. This is all that is known about these treasures. I must say that in the Caribbean about a million tiny island, so that the descriptions can not boast of accuracy. In addition, Tych could hardly hide anything of value. Shortly before his death, he bought a pardon, giving for it to the governor of North Carolina, Charles Eden, six boxes of sugar.
Map of Okrakok island, where Blackbeard died. Here they searched for his mythical treasure many times.
On his ship "Revenge of Queen Anne" after the capture, found about 40 pounds. For a pirate, this is a fortune.
Treasures that make sense to look for.
The Caribbean, however, holds a lot of treasure. That's just not pirated. At the bottom of the sea is full of ships, in the holds of which there are both gold and silver. But the whereabouts of most of them remain unknown. With some accuracy, you can specify only one place: the Florida Strait, between the eponymous peninsula and the island of New Providence. In 1715, the Spanish Silver Fleet completely sank. This incident had a significant impact on the history of the region. New Providence became a haven for pirates who attacked Spanish divers from here, trying to lift the sunken gold from the bottom of the sea. Because of these attacks, Spain curtailed the operation. According to the latest estimates, the waters of the Florida Straits still store several billion dollars in the form of silver and gold bars.