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$1bn Pirate Treasure Buried On Remote Island Guarded By Sharks

Tom Wood

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$1bn Pirate Treasure Buried On Remote Island Guarded By Sharks

An island near Costa Rica harbours a treasure that is supposedly worth around $1bn (£820m) and is guarded by hundreds of sharks.

No, this isn't the beginning of a Pirates of the Caribbean film, although it does feature several buccaneers and no small amount of plundered booty.

The treasure is thought to have been buried on the remote island of Cocos by captain William Thompson after he was entrusted with moving it from the Peruvian capital of Lima because of fears of an uprising.

The hoard contains a large amount of silver coins, diamonds and a huge gold statue of the Virgin Mary.

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It's worth a couple of quid, to say the least.

The island is patrolled by sharks. Credit: PA
The island is patrolled by sharks. Credit: PA

Thompson was reportedly supposed to take the treasure from Lima to Mexico in 1821 on his ship the Mary Dear, but they killed all of the soldiers and priests on board before transporting the precious cargo to the island where it was buried until the fuss had died down.

They never made it back, meaning that the treasure could still be buried somewhere on the island.

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Eventually, Thompson and his crew were reprimanded for their actions. All but the captain and his first mate were killed.

Thompson and his mate were kept alive only on the premise that they'd bring the authorities back to the island and retrieve the treasure.

They did half of that. Once on the island they made a break for it and escaped into the thick jungle.

Cocos Island. Credit: Public Domain
Cocos Island. Credit: Public Domain
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But, the island's pirate past doesn't end there.

In the early 19th century, Portuguese pirate Benito Bonito left a stash of gold, silver and gems on the island too.

It is thought that in today's money that would be worth $300m (£246m).

Bits of that particular treasure were discovered in May 1856 by a group of mercenaries who were trying to escape a battle in neighbouring Nicaragua.

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They dug up a bronze chain and found a chest of doubloons in a cave.

Now, the island continues to entice treasure hunters and interested parties to it.

It is thought to have been the inspiration for Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.

You can see why they'd have liked it. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
You can see why they'd have liked it. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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Nowadays, however, treasure hunters can't stay on the island because it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That's because of the wildlife - including tigers and sharks.

It's not even clear whether the treasure is still there.

Carved into a tree on the island is a message from the past. It simply reads: "The bird has flown".

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Interesting, Weird

Tom Wood
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