Captain Kidd’s Pirate Booty? 50 POUND Silver Ingot Found off Madagascar

By RICHARD MARSDEN, Daily Mail feature image/twitter@PresidenceMada

Underwater explorers believe they have discovered treasure belonging to the notorious 17th-Century Scottish pirate William Kidd in the waters off Madagascar.

The fate of Capt Kidd’s treasure has prompted numerous hunts around the world over the last three centuries, and his exploits inspired author Robert Louis Stevenson when writing Treasure Island.

Mr Clifford presented the suspected treasure to Madagascar’s president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina and UK and US diplomats at a ceremony on the island. 

Will the mystery finally be solved? Experts found what appeared to be the wreck of Captain Kidd's ship, Adventure, in 2000. They believe the silver bar found nearby was from that vessel

Will the mystery finally be solved? Experts found what appeared to be the wreck of Captain Kidd’s ship, Adventure, in 2000. They believe the silver bar found nearby was from that vessel

Martin Vogl, a Madagascar-based journalist, said: ‘The team believe the silver bar came from wreckage of pirate Captain Kidd’s ship – one the most famous pirates who operated out of Madagascar.’ 

Mr Vogl added that officials including UK ambassador to Madagascar, Timothy Smart, are hoping the discovery will ‘raise the profile of Madagascar, especially for tourists’.

Capt Kidd was tried not only for piracy but also on the accusation he murdered one of his crewmen in 1697.

His execution was not straightforward, with the noose around his neck twice breaking – but the third rope held firm.

Underwater explorer Barry Clifford (above) believes the silver bar is from the wreckage of the pirate's ship

Underwater explorer Barry Clifford (above) believes the silver bar is from the wreckage of the pirate’s ship

The buccaneer operated across the world, from the Atlantic to the Far East, as well as in the Indian Ocean.

Searches for his treasure have been carried out in locations ranging from the East Coast of America and the Caribbean to the South China Sea.

Capt Kidd had been appointed by the crown to tackle piracy and capture enemy French ships.

But his own pirating exploits came to light in 1698, when he looted an Armenian ship, the Quedagh Merchant, which was sailing under a French pass but captained by an Englishman.

CAPT TASKED WITH TACKLING PIRATES WAS HANGED FOR BECOMING ONE

Captain William Kidd, right, was born in 1645 in Greenock, Scotland, and executed for piracy on May 23, 1701.

He is believed to have turned to piracy four years before his death, having previously been an established sea captain and ship owner involved in tackling the problem.

In August 1697, he unsuccessfully attacked ships sailing from the Yemen with coffee but took several small ships.

Capt Kidd’s refusal to attack a Dutch ship later that year almost resulted in a mutiny and he left his gunner, William Moore, with fatal injuries, resulting in his later murder charge.

Capt Kidd’s bounty is believed to come from the Quedagh Merchant.

He was sent for trial after later sailing to New York City to try to persuade the then colonial governor, the Earl of Bellomont, of his innocence of piracy.

A small cache of Capt Kidd’s treasure, including gold dust, bars of silver, Spanish dollars, rubies, diamonds, candlesticks, which he had buried on Gardiners Island, New York, was recovered and used as evidence against him.

But the bulk of his suspected loot has never been found.

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