A pirate’s treasure trove has been discovered off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
A 110-pound silver bar that allegedly once belonged to the Scottish pirate Captain William [Via]
A group of deep sea divers from the United States had been diving in the area when they came across a 50 kilo silver bar. The divers retrieved the solid silver bar and returned it to shore on Sainte Marie Island.
Barry Clifford, one of the divers, says that it is treasure from Scottish pirate William Kidd, who terrorised the oceans during the 17th Century. The bar is thought to be from Captain Kidd’s wrecked ship – the Adventure Galley. The ship was built in England.
William Kidd wasn’t always a pirate. He was employed by Britain to sail the seas and make them safer, in an age when to get to another country people had to travel by boat. While Kidd did start by policing the seas in search of pirates and other dangerous vessels, Kidd himself and his crew turned to the dark side, becoming pirates themselves.
Kidd was eventually tracked down, arrested and executed at the beginning of the 18th Century.
The silver bar is marked with two letters – S and T. It is thought to originally be from Bolivia.
However some are disputing the claims that the bar is from Captain Kidd’s ship. Sceptics are calling for further proof that the bar is from that era and from the ship. This could be gathered from the wood from the ship’s wreckage, which could be carbon-dated to find out its age.
Howard Pyle’s fanciful painting of Kidd burying treasure [Via]
The Adventure Galley is said to have sunk in the late 1600s. The site was located many years ago, but this is the first time any treasure has been found in its vicinity. (BBC News)
Meanwhile, the bar has been officially handed over to Madagascar in a ceremony that took place this week. Madagascar’s president, HeryRajaonarimampianina was presented with the bar, which is planned to be put on display in a local museum.
Kidd at Gardiner’s Island: illustration of pirate captain William Kidd’s supervision of the burial of his treasure at Gardiner’s Island [Via]
The country is hoping that the treasure trove and wreckage off its coast will be a tourist attraction and encourage more people to travel to Madagascar.
Little is known about Captain Kidd, but he is believed to be from Dundee and was born in around 1645. At the time, Britain, along with the Portugese, Spanish and Dutch, ruled the seas. Explorers ventured to new territories and trade between the east and Europe was rampant.
The British decided it would be beneficial to have some kind of policing of the seas, as well as to tackle their enemy’s ships. But with too much opportunity to loot and steal from ships himself Captain Kidd ended up being a pirate.
Numerous treasure hunts have taken place for Captain Kidd’s loot, but until now nothing has ever been found.