Legend has it the infamous British Pirate Captain Kidd buried his booty all over the world, inspiring treasure hunts and a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Now, a bit of his loot may have been discovered off the coast of Madagascar.
A 110-pound bar of silver was found off Sainte Marie island, plucked from one of the pirate’s wrecked ships, said the man who helped uncover it, underwater explorer Barry Clifford, BBC News reported. Since it was brought ashore by divers, it has been heavily guarded by soldiers.
It was presented to Madagascar’s president and diplomats at a ceremony Thursday on the island; the U.S. diplomat to the small island nation hopes that the discovery will boost tourism.
That is if it can be proven the treasure belonged to him.
Clifford and his team are highly respected, however, skeptics probably won’t be convinced that the silver is actually some of the Captain’s loot. The bar was likely crafted in 17th century Bolivia and the ship is probably English. In order to prove it for certain, scientists may have to examine the wood from the wreckage to confirm it actually did come from England.
According to the Telegraph, remains of his flagship, the “Adventure,” were spotted off the coast of Madagascar in 2000. That wreckage had treasure of its own of the historical kind: a large metal oarlock, ballast stones, burned wood, bottle of rum, and shards of Ming porcelain. These all dated to Captain Kidd’s time.
However, media reports didn’t explicitly connect this latest treasure to the “Adventure” but noted that Clifford discovered that ship’s remains.
Captain William Kidd, a Scot born in 1645, became a pirate at the request of the Crown. His initial mission was to attack piracy and capture French ships, a staunch enemy at the time. By 1698, he took the “Quedagh Merchant”, an Armenian ship sailing through a French pass that evidently was loaded with satins, muslins, gold, and silver belonging to the British East India Company, the Independent recounted.
Archaeologists at the University of Indiana unearthed the “Merchant” in 2007, the Daily Mirror added.
But Kidd’s piracy eventually caught up with him — and not in a good way. After a trip to the Indian Ocean, he was convicted for his ruthless deeds, including the murder of crewman in 1698, by Parliament in 1701. His hanging was botched twice before it took, and his corpse eventually dipped in tar and put on display as a warning to others.
[Photos Courtesy Hulton Archive/Getty Images, Martin Vogl Twitter]