In 2015 archaeologists in Madagascar discovered buried treasure that may have belonged to the notorious Scottish pirate Captain William Kidd.
Found in 2015
The office of the country’s President Hery Rajaonarimampianina posted the first photos of divers recovering a large chunk of silver on its official Twitter account. The message, written in French and Malagasy, read: “Search of wreck and treasure in the water.”
A joint UK-US archaeological research mission found a 55-kilogram silver bar in the shallow waters of St. Mary’s Island, the office said.
Who was Captain Kidd?
He is believed to have been born in the Greenock or Dundee area of Scotland around 1645. He was employed by the Crown to combat piracy and capture enemy French ships, but he began piracy himself.
In 1698, he plundered the Armenian ship Quedagh Merchant, which was apparently passing under a French pass. The Quedagh merchant was carrying satin, muslin, gold, and silver. Unfortunately for Kidd, the ship’s captain was an Englishman, and it is believed that a large amount of the cargo belonged to the British East India Company.
Poor End of Captain Kidd
Captain Kidd was captured and brought back to London. He was found guilty of piracy and the murder of one of his crew during a brawl in 1697, and sentenced to death. During his execution at Wapping in 1701, the first rope put around his neck broke, so he was hanged a second time. That rope also broke, but the third one was holding it.
Later, his body was covered in tar and hung from chains on the banks of the River Thames as a warning to potential pirates.
The legend that Captain William Kidd hid much of his loot inspired numerous treasure hunts around the world and inspired author Robert Louis Stevenson when writing Treasure Island.
Myths and Legends
There are many myths and legends about the history of Captain William Kidd, and one such legend was that the pirate buried his treasure before returning to New York. Captain Kidd buried some treasure on Gardiners Island, off the coast of Long Island, New York. It is said that Governor Bellomont found the treasure, located it, and sent it to England as evidence in William Kidd’s trial.
Many people think that the rest of the treasure can be found in shipwrecks in several different locations. It has inspired treasure hunters to search for the treasure for many years. An underwater exploration team led by Barry Clifford claims to have found “the remains of the Adventure Galley” . And Captain Kidd’s treasure off the coast of Madagascar.
In 2015 the team found a 100 lb (50 kg) solid bar of silver at the site, confirming that the wreck belonged to Captain Kidd. Captain Kidd’s treasure has been discovered on Oak Island, Thimble Island in Connecticut, the Rahway River in New Jersey, Phu Quoc, and an island in Vietnam.
Is that a False treasure?
The UNESCO organization studied the bar and through testing determined that it contained over 90% lead. In fact, zero silver was found there. They concluded that the bar was simply lead ballast from a port building on Sainte-Marie Island near Madagascar.
Clifford disagrees with UNESCO experts and is adamant that he found the treasure. Nothing was found that could date or allow scientists to verify that the ship. Without a doubt, belonged to Captain Kidd.
Which is the actual location of treasure ?
Some people believe that the wreck off the coast of Madagascar is actually the location of Captain Kidd’s missing treasure. Barry Clifford has a history of success, having discovered the first verified pirate shipwreck in 1984. This alone is enough support for people to doubt UNESCO’s claim.
Others do not believe Clifford’s claims. In 2014, Clifford claimed to have discovered and identified a ship of Christopher Columbus near Hatti. Again, UNESCO rejected the claim and was able to determine that the ship Clifford found was from a later period. Not 1492 (with which it also strongly disagrees). Somehow, if the Kid left the treasure behind, it’s still there, waiting to be found.