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Sunken Treasures of the Caribbean


Billions of Dollars and Lost History to be Found

Documented by Timothy Draper

Categories & Site Details: Adventures & Treasures, Famous Treasure Stories, Field Research, Gold & Doubloons, Lost Forgotten History, Lost Treasure Discovery, Metal Detecting, Mining Legends, pirate Treasure, Spanish History, Spanish Treasure, Treasure Sites in America



We have all heard about the stories of pirates plundering ships in the Caribbean for riches but have you heard the full story? There is more to the story than you know. 




There has been evidence found in the last 50 years of voyagers sailing to the Americas before Christopher Columbus. New land and resources were a big thing to the Vikings, Chinese, and many other powerful and strong nations. There’s evidence that suggests that ancient Egyptians traveled to America before Christopher Columbus. The word spread throughout these nations and traveling to the New World was not uncommon. Some believe that the Knight Templar Treasure was brought to America in the late 1300s. 

America was an unknown and unexplored land that had many resources like minerals, new types of food like corn, and had wide-open spaces to build and start new lives. The Maya, Aztecs, and many other powerful civilizations inhabited these regions for thousands of years. America was the new place to see and discover. 

When visitors arrived in America, they and saw the vast civilizations that had been living here very well with huge cities, and organized building methods and techniques. They found incredible valuables like gold and silver, that’s when greed began to settle in. Many nations spread over the American continents and these native cultures seemed powerful but unbefitting to the European way of life. This is where the Spanish came into the story. 

Some believe that Christofer Columbus didn’t just stumble upon America. Some believe that he had heard of vast lands and multiple valuable resources. Columbus convinced the King of Spain to fund his voyage, to see if the rumors were true. To make a long history story short, after Christoper Columbus returned to Spain with his stories, the Spanish were on a mission to take their search to a new level. The Spanish conquered and plundered many native civilizations that had existed and gained control in areas like Southern Florida, Mexico City, and islands in the Caribbean. 

The Spanish capitalized on the ability to move their spoils. They were very successful in mining operations in North, Central, and South America. Their main headquarters were in Mexico City and Spanish Ships were coming and going for years. Spain became very powerful and Spanish treasures were being transported to Spain. When the British Royal King got word of the Spanish success in America, the war started to take over the Caribbean. 


British and Spanish War


The Anglo-Spanish War – Sunken Treasures of the Caribbean 

During the 1500s, Spain was acquiring great wealth from their mining and plundering. At this time, most of the riches were already taken and carried away from the Aztec and Inca civilizations. The Spanish were hot on the trail to producing rich Spanish mines and traveling North of Mexico city. Arizona, New Mexico, California, Texas, and Utah were the areas where a great deal of the precious gold and silver were acquired along with the ancient mines of South America. 

The Spanish had mines scattered across the American continents. We have found reports of hundreds of Spanish mines in Utah state alone. Some of them were small and only mined for a short time, but some of them were extremely rich and were mined for many years. Some believe that the main shipping port was just East of Mexico city but recent research suggests that the Spanish also had a smaller port in San Antonio Texas as well. 

Now that you know a little bit about the Spanish success and mining in America, think about England and what the King thought when he heard that Spanish ships were sailing back and forth with ships heavily loaded with gold, silver, and other precious resources? 

By 1585, the Spanish declared war on the English and it was in some way, the first piracy to take place. England wanted the Spanish treasures loaded on the Spanish ships and Spain’s economy depended on the ships coming back loaded with valuables. Some call this time “World War Zero.” Spain created an alliance with France which made them a world superpower. These fleets of ships were heavily guarded and loaded with as many cannons as they could handle. Some were not as fortunate and did not have the capability to sail with many cannons, or any cannons at all.

The king of England didn’t have enough money to fund new shipbuilding, nor did he have the money to keep his ships in the Caribbean to hunt after the heavily loaded Spanish and French ships. This is where Pirates came into play… Privateers are what they were called and the King of England signed off many contracts to these privateers to hunt and attack the French and Spanish ships, and rob them of their valuables in the Caribbean Sea. 

The Crown gave an official license, also known as the letter of marque, and the privateers funded their own ships and crews. During the Spanish and English war, the king of England signed 1,622 letters of marque. In return, the privateers made big money robbing the Spanish and the King of England didn’t have to spend anything to have a Navy fighting their war. 

Many of the battles happened in the Caribbean because the only route from America was through the Gulf of Mexico running through the Caribbean Sea. During these 12 years of war, many ships never returned to the ports of Europe. Many of them lay at the bottom of the ocean, full of treasures. The British clearly won the war but there was something new growing on the horizon.





When Pirates Were Born – Sunken Treasures of the Caribbean

At Port Royal, the King of England sent out news that the attack on the Spanish ships must come to a halt. Many of the privateers lost their means of making a living. Massive unemployment took place. These men knew nothing but sailing and plundering. Thousands of privateers lost their livelihood. While most of them drank their way to nothing, many whispers echoed about what the next move would be.  

Even though the war was over, the Spanish rounded up their own privateers called the Spanish Guarda Costa. These legitimate privateers worked for the Crown of Spain and would attack British merchant ships coming out of Port Royal in Jamaica while the British privateers were ordered to stand down and attacking any Spanish ships was forbidden.  

A man named Benjamin Hornigold, an unemployed Captain & privateer of the King of England, grew restless and determined to find another way. Hornigold and his crew sat down for the last time in Port Royal to discuss a new mission. They decided to move to the heart of the Caribbean from under the authority of the king of England. This place was Nassau in the Bahamas. 


Private Headquarters Nassau


No Ship Is Safe Along the Main Route – Sunken Treasures of the Caribbean

Nassau quickly became the roughest and most famous pirate haven. Many of the most famous private names like Benjamin Hornigold, Henry Jenning, “Black Sam” Bellamy, Anne Bonny, and probably the most famous pirate, Edward Thatch “Blackbeard” all made Nassau their main headquarters. This port was not unfamiliar with having several pirate ships docked at the same time. When these captains and crews weren’t out plundering, they spent their time at the bar, with women, and celebrating their riches. 

At this time, piracy was in full swing and no ship was safe. Not the British navy, Spanish ships, nor any merchant ships. If any ship came into sight of these pirates, you can be sure that a fight and plundering was coming. 

Henry Jennings, known as the most violent pirate at the time, made a name for plundering all he could. Many people feared him.  Because piracy was at full force, many kings and countries were losing valuables at sea. The pirates would steal ships, convert crew members to their side, and of course, take anything of value. This went on for years. Slavery was a big thing at this time and some pirates like Black Beard would ask the slaves if they would like to join his crew. Many slaves excepted and the pirate crew grew larger and larger every month. 

The British built huge ships with over 30 cannons to fight off the pirates and even then, the pirates won many times. Merchant ships were not usually armed and they didn’t put up much of a fight. They were only paid to transfer the cargo, not lose their lives for it. After some time, England, Spain, and many others were falling deeper and deeper into debt. The cost of trying to stay one step ahead of these pirates proved to be expensive and much of their gold, silver, spices and other valuable items never made it to ports.

This caused many countries and companies to be in financial distress. Some of the heavily used ships were trying new routes and sailing into dangerous storms attempting to stay away from the pirates. Hundreds of ships and their cargo were lost due to this. Sometimes the pirates would sail with their precious cargo and they also would find themselves stranded on the shore after a bad storm. The fighting between the Pirates and the merchants continued on. 

Even though the pirates were ahead of the game with winning, often their treasure was buried on islands and shores. Frequently the buried plunder was never recovered. Even the pirate crews perished and the valuables were lost to time.


Learn More About Treasures in America




Some Pirates Took The Treaty From the King of England – Sunken Treasures of the Caribbean

The king of England did something that no one thought he would do, he offered a treaty and all crimes forgiven to any pirate that would stop and return to their normal lives. When word spread that the king was offering to forgive all pirates, things started to change. Many pirates were great sailors and many of them were educated and very wealthy at this time. The chance to stop pirating and keep their treasures sounded like a good idea to some pirates. 

The pirates that didn’t sign the treaty were hunted down by the royal navy and most of them were finally killed and some pirates just disappeared. This wasn’t a quick victory for the navy, the fighting went on for another couple of years. Again, more ships lost at sea and the ocean bottom claimed much of their treasure. 

Some claim to think that thousands of ships loaded with cargo were not only now sunken ships, but their valuables also were never recovered in the Caribbean. This is where modern-day treasure hunting comes into play. If you could venture out to sea for treasure, would you try? 


Sunken Ships and Treasure Hunting


A Treasure Map to Lost History & Treasure – Sunken Treasures of the Caribbean

As I have mentioned in all my previous treasure blogs, do your research! Luckily for us treasure seekers, ship manifests were created for every ship. This not only gives great information but it has dates, years, the ship’s name, the captain’s name, and what cargo the ship was carrying. With documents becoming digitalized, there’s a lot of information that can be found online. 

I’m not saying it will be easy. It will be expensive and timely for someone to not only travel to Spain, Mexico City, England, and France to review clues and to speak with historians, the ships and equipment it will take to recover these sunken treasures of the Caribbean will be costly. You’ll need the right type of treasure hunting gear to start your hunt. 

There are a few ways a modern-day treasure hunter could approach this hunt. Do you want to look for the buried treasure offshore and land? Or do you want to look for sunken ships? Either way, another thing to keep in mind is the sailing routes. Ships would use routes just like planes and pilots do today. All captains had to stay the course for many reasons. Sometimes due to bad weather, a captain would rear off course but keep the Caribbean Sea area in mind, there’s plenty of shallow water in these parts. 

If it was me, I would find extremely detailed maps of these routes. Make sure you keep these main ports and land in mind. 

  • Mexico City Port
  • The Gulf of Mexico
  • The Caribbean Sea
  • The Bahamas
  • Jamaica
  • Cape Cod
  • Tortuga


When it comes to looking for treasure where the pirates may have buried their riches, I would look to some of these islands. 

  • Cuba
  • Cayman Island
  • Haiti
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Grand Bahama
  • Turks and Caicos Islands


I can not stress enough… do your homework. Read, study, learn, and then do it all over again. Make friends with knowledgeable people that know a thing or two about history. You’ll be surprised how many people would not only want to join your search crew but would also bring something grand to the table to be a part of your adventure. 

You never know, I may see you out there one day. Happy hunting. Be safe. Find Your Adventure



Copyright properties of Treasures in America LLC | Treasures in America Productions | Uncharted Expeditions LLC


Written by Timothy C. Draper

Edited by Craig S Draper



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