I was doing some reading on the different coast names for Florida. My area is called the Sun Coast, but it use to have a more sinister name…the Pirate Coast. This filled the sails of my imagination and put me on course to find some fascinating stories about buried treasure, pirates and the Florida coast. Climb aboard, let’s go for a ride.
This information came from treasurelore.com. It makes you want to grab a shovel and hunt for the elusive X marks the spot. I’ll add a new pirate treasure story each week to keep you salivating.
Florida’s Pirate Coast
Many researchers and historians claim that Florida contains more buried and sunken treasures than any other state. They have also put a price tag on these treasures, which amounts to a cool $165 million (1964). Florida, like all other states, has a fascinating and romantic history. Seven different flags have flown over her, not to mention the black flag of the pirates. Florida became the haven of many notorious pirates, including Blackbeard, Lafitte, Gasparilla, Kidd, Rackham, Bowlegs, Bonnett, and possibly even Morgan himself. They roamed the waters of the Caribbean Sea, and captured every ship in sight. Often, they brought their loot back to Florida, and buried it on some lonely shore. When they finally died, the location of their hidden wealth died with them. The majority of all buried treasure in Florida is the work of pirates.
Numerous wars have been fought in Florida and upon the waters around her. Men hastily buried their wealth when being pursued by the enemy. Valuables were lost or misplaced when the fighting started and were never found again. Naval battles accounted for the sinking of many ships with valuable cargoes, their resting-place to be forgotten in time. Some very valuable treasures were lost during the many wars in Florida.
Florida has survived through hundreds of hurricanes in the past four centuries, but many ships around her have not. From the year 1500 to 1960, hurricanes have sunk their quota of treasure-laden ships. These wrecked ships represent all nations, but the majority of them are Spanish galleons. They carried gold and silver from the New World to the Old, only to have their contents deposited on some jagged reef off Florida. Many gold doubloons and pieces-of-eight are awaiting a lucky finder on the Florida reefs.
Actually, there are two types of treasure hunting; buried treasure merely requires a shovel, but it is advisable to use a metal detector if success is to be achieved. Hunting sunken treasure becomes more expensive and complicated. Diving gear is needed and of course a boat is required. Only an experienced diver should go after sunken treasure. Luckily, Florida contains both types of treasures, thus enabling the prospective hunter to choose from a larger variety.
Florida has already yielded hundreds of lost treasures to many happy people. Among these are: A chest containing $25,000 in Mexican gold was found on Grassy Key. Miami has yielded some buried treasure. A road crew while building a new road near Cocoa found thirteen chests of treasure. $70,000 in silver coins were discovered on Lower Matecumbe Key, plus another 61 gold pieces were found by fishermen there. Dozens of pirate caches have been found on the West Coast of Florida. Millions of dollars have already been salvaged from the Spanish galleons off Florida. Some of these sunken treasures can be seen at Art McKee’s Sunken Treasure Museum on Plantation Key. This is only a small sample of what has been unearthed and salvaged in Florida.
Now doesn’t that make you flush with gold fever? I’ll do a weekly post on the different Florida Treasure stories of which there are many. See you next time mate.
Over and out from somewhere south,