Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Legendary Treasures Islands from around the World

There’s something about pirates and their adventures that has always fascinated us and if you’re looking for more than pirate movies or books, how about a real pirate treasure hunt? We’ve got the perfect locations for you.

Mona Island, Puerto Rico

An island in the archipelago of Puerto Rico, La Isla de Mona, as the Spanish call it, is a natural paradise with no native inhabitants. At just 11 km by 7 km, you might not think much of it but little Mona Island has quite a history of pirating.

This is in fact the location where the infamous English pirate Henry Jennings, known not only for his cruelty but also for his knowledge and good manners, hid his treasure. An expedition in 1939 discovered the doubloon-filled chest and was auctioned in Chicago for a fabulous sum back then – 1 million dollars.

But that wasn’t the only treasure Mona Island kept hidden, every once in a while gold coins are washed ashore by the tide, so who knows, maybe you will get lucky and find another pirate treasure. And since the island isn’t inhabited you can keep it all to yourself.

Roatan, Honduras

Just so you can get an idea of how important Roatan was in the pirate era, you should know that this island was the headquarters of the famous pirate Henry Morgan, during the XVII century.

Roatan was a safe haven for English, French and Danish pirates and to this day, the natives of Roatan believe many treasures of these corsairs still lay hidden around the island. And the discovery of a certain archeologist, Mitchell Hedges, back in the 1930s proved them right. Hedges was just walking down the beach holding a compass when the needle just started spinning. After investigating his surroundings he discovered four chests filled with gold doubloons.

He only presented one of them to the authorities, using the remaining three to buy a castle in England, where he lived until his death. Since then there has been no record of another discovered treasure, but if you found it, would you report it? I didn’t think so.

Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

This Island of Youth offers its visitors priceless natural treasures, lush vegetation, sun-bathed beaches and crystal-blue waters, but there might also be some gold and jewels in it for you.

Back when pirates were feared and respected for their power and influence, La Isla de la Juventud was a shelter for pirates the likes of Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, John Hawkins or Edward Tich. As a curiosity, the pirates of Isla de la Juventud sailed around coastal waters in huge canoes, inherited from the native tribes.

Isla de la Juventud was also a prison throughout the years, even Fidel Castro served time here, so if you’re not into treasure hunting, you might want to visit the prison.

Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

The very name of Norman Island is said to have belonged to a pirate who, upon discovering it, sought to claim it as his own. And if we are to believe to historical records there is treasure to be found in this place.

According to some old chronicles, in August 1750, the Spanish galleon “Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe” crashed off the coast of North America, the crew mutinied and two small boats carrying 55 chests full of silver sailed for the island of Norman. One of them reached its destination and unloaded the cargo on the island, but the other never arrived. The Governor of the British Virgin Islands sent some officers to search for it but the boat was never found.

There are tales about fishermen hiding from rains and storms in caves around the islands and stumbling-upon chests of old doubloons, but nothing official. Still if visitors don’t discover the lost treasure, at least they can enjoy the sun and the clear waters.

Cozumel, Mexico

The ancient Mayan believed Cozumel to be a sacred place home of Ischtel, goddess of fertility, so they constructed several temples and a sacred burial ground here. Set off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, Cozumel is a great place to see the second largest Barrier Reef in the world and enjoy the incredible underwater world.

After the Spanish ultimately destroyed the Mayan people on Cozumel, the island of Cozumel remained uninhabited and eventually became a shelter for pirates running away from the law, a perfect place to stash treasures. Many say the ancient Mayan catacombs still hide pirate treasures.


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