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Friday, 29 May 2015

Just Kidding

What a let down. Captain Kidd the pirates fabled treasure, the one that inspired the book 'Treasure Island' and the character 'Long John Silver' turns out to be one measly silver bar weighing 50kg. It was recovered from the wreck of his pirate ship, off the shores of Sainte Marie island in Madagascar territory.

No caskets of rubies, no millions in doubloons, no ingots of Spanish gold .... just a rather tatty, inscribed silver bar.

Kidds Silver ....

The total value in silver terms of 50 kilograms is reportedly worth approx £17,000 .... hardly an absolute  fortune now, and although not even an absolute fortune then, at the values of the time it was a tidy sum. I read that in the 17th century, 134 troy pounds of sterling silver was equivalent to about 8300 shillings, and with 1 troy pound of sterling silver equal to 62 shillings, this works out at 20 shillings to the pound, to about £415 pounds. Now while not a billionaire, when you think that in 1680, an entire plantation estate with slaves, guns, and house was valued at £583—01s—03d then this was a enough to make a poor man a member of the southern gentry. Of course split into 30 or 40 shares amongst the crew, it would not have looked so handsome an amount.

So perhaps its a good thing that local historians suggest that it may be only part of a haul of £1.25 million in silver bullion still awaiting discovery. Strangely its been reported that the UN is sending experts to investigate the silver bar .... why is not entirely clear to me.

As for Kidd, he was captured, minus his sunken treasure (which meant he couldn't bribe his way out of trouble), although a small cache of his treasure, including gold dust, bars of silver, Spanish dollars, rubies, diamonds, candlesticks, which he had buried on Gardiners Island, New York, was recovered in time for his trial and used as evidence against him.

Captain Kidd The Pirate

So he was sentenced to be hung for piracy and murder (of one of his own crew) .... but his luck almost saved him, because during his execution, the first rope put around his neck broke, so he was strung up a second time. That rope also snapped, but the third one held ... 3rd times a charm as they say. His body was dipped in tar, and hung by chains along the River Thames to serve as a warning to any would-be pirates.

Just proves that all in all, for the average and even the not so average criminal, crime really doesn't pay.

2 comments:

  1. As a good Scotsman, Captain Kidd kept his treasure to the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sailing close to a racial stereotype there matey .... LOL

      Delete

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