When Captain William Kidd was hung in London on May the 23th in 1701 for piracy, he could hardly imagine which riddle he would leave to the following generations. Kidd was more than anybody else the stereotype of a classical pirate; the keeper of buried treasure. A rurther reason for his fame are the numerous authors telling his adventures in their books. The most popular author was probably Rebort Louis Stevenson with his book "Treasure Island".
Stevenson's book contains all elements that are expected of pirates: A treasure map, a my sterious island, buried gold, murder and an exciting search for treasure. All of the above are real elements of Kidd's life.
The day before his execution, Kidd wrote a letter to the English President of the House of the Lords, trying to escape from being hung. In exchange for his life Kidd offered to reveal the location of some of his hidden treasures. He wrote: "On my journeys to East India, I have heaped up treasures worth about half a million Pound, and I wish the government to make use of them, I do not want to beg for my freedom, but I shall be kept as prisoner on a ship where I give but the necessaries orders. And if I should fail at this, I will not demand for anything else than being executed according to my sentence."
Kidd never got a reply to his offer and was given his sentence. After his death, Kidd became a legend.
In 1929, more than 200 years later, the first reliable clue was found that his letter was no fake. Hubert Palmer, a retired Lawyer living in Eastborn England, bought an old oak desk dated back to the 17th century.
As on the desk was written "Captain William Kidd - Adventure Galley 1699", Mr. Palmer began to search for secret drawers. Indeed, the Lawyer found a little brass pipe containing a map.
The map showed an island in the China Sea; below it was written "WK" and the date 1699. In the following years Palmer continued to searche like made for other relics of Kidd and really managed to find three more maps. All of these maps seemed to show the same island and were supposed to be genuine as the signature on them was really the one of Kidd.
This discovery led to numerous expeditions to different spots of the East Coast of America, to the Indian Ocean and the Japanese Sea. Up to now none of them was able to find Kidd's treasure.
Where Is Treasure Island located?
The legend of Captain Kidd's "Treasure Island", soon got some kind of self-dynamic moment after his death. The estimated worth of his treasures rose to an amount of several millions, although there had never been real evidence that Kidd was able to take possession of much more than the Quedah Merchant and the Maiden during his short pirate life.
A part of this booty was given to his crew that had stayed in Madagascar in 1698 and another part belonged to sailors that left the ship at Delaware Bay before Kidd arrived in Boston in 1699. It is known that Kidd had some chests buried in Gardiner's Island before his arrival in Boston. One of these chests is said to have contained gold.
However this treasure was found and confiscated by the government.
The skeptics argue that the rumors about Kidd's treasures were only caused by the burial of the above mentioned chests at Gardiner's Island. They also assume that it was quite impossible for a single person to find four authentic treasure maps 200 years after Kidd's death.
The most detailed map was found in a chest on which was written "William and Sahra Kidd, their chest" in 1934. The map shows the island's degrees of latitudes and degrees of longitudes. Even coded instructions of finding the treasure are given by the map. Unfortunately, there were no real standards for degrees of latitudes in those days. Besides nobody was ever able to decode the given instructions up to now. The most disturbing point is that the island must lie in the China Sea, although Kidd is said to never have been there.A Japanesse Discovery
A Japanese island that could match the island shown on the maps is Yokoate. In 1952 a group of fishermen tried to shelter at one of the the island's bays. By chance they found some symbols in a rock. The symbols showed a kind of animal with two horns. When this was reported to a Japanese scholar named Nagashima, he remembered Kidd often using the picture of a young kid as a symbol of himself.
Nagashima explored the place were the symbols were found. It is aid that he found the entrance to a cave. Moreover he is said to have found some iron chests containing gold and silver coins worth about $50.000.000, which he had taken to Tokyo. Later on Japanese newspapers reported that Nagashima was missing with all the treasure, and was searched by the police.
No matter whether Nagashima has found the treasure or not, many people believe that the location of the island must be somewhere in the China Sea. They also claim that the four maps that have been found must be copies of an original map. This first map probably has once gottten into Kidd's possession during one of his journeys, but probably shows a hiding-place not constructed by himself. Other Islands Of Interest
Another theory is that the hints to the Chinese Sea are just to confuse everybody who happens to obtain one of the copied maps. This theory also points out that that Kidd would have hidden the treasure much closer to his home. Maybe in the Caribbean Sea as he left there the Quedah Merchant and got onto the Antonio.
The most amazing theory is that Kidd buried his treasure far more in the North in front of the coast of Newshotland. The name of the island is Oak Island. Although Oak Island has been explored frequently by treasure hunters for many years, it hasn't given all its secrets away yetLinkback:
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