There are many unsolved treasure mysteries surrounding us, especially those involving ships being lost at sea. It may sound cliché, but everyone wants to find hidden treasure, whether they believe in it or not. Most treasures are associated with pirates, who were known to hide treasure all the time. Other mystifying theories come from ships that lost their fate due to pirating or damaging storms.
Other myths come with many versions, speculations, perplexity, and superstitions that require our imagination to try to crack. Just how many sunken ships are there that hold an enormous amount of wealth? While it can be unbelievable at times, there really are treasures out there, and many are lured at the prospect of trying to locate them.
While some argue it’s just a form of romantic fiction, others truly believe there are stashes of gold waiting to be discovered. It’s hard to dismiss the idea of there being gold and treasure around us. Fortunately, there are enough fortune seekers out there that want to help unearth some of the greatest mysteries on the planet. Below are a list of the top 10 ocean treasures that have yet to be discovered.
10 10- Oak Island “Money Pit”- Amount Unknown
There is said to be a “Money Pit” located in Nova Scotia, Canada, which has become one of the World’s longest running treasure hunts. For hundreds of years, treasure hunters have traveled to Nova Scotia to try to retrieve treasure, but have come up empty handed due to many booby traps.
In 1795, a teenager Daniel McGinnis located a hole in Oak Island where surrounding trees had been removed. Curious, he began excavating and what he found caused an excitement in all treasure seekers. Located were man-made artifacts and symbols, with one particular message stating forty feet below, two million pounds buried. Myths surrounding tool marks, pick scrapes, engraved messages, and loose dirt led to the theory that there is treasure in the hole found on the island. Unfortunately, due to supposed booby traps and lots of flooding, there hasn’t been any treasure located. There are a few popular theories that are associated with the “Money Pit”-
- The hole contains treasure from pirates and naval treasure.
- It could hold the missing priceless jewels of Marie Antoinette.
- It’s believed that English Professor Francis Bacon used the pit to hide documents proving that he was in fact the author of Shakespeare’s plays.
9 9- Riches of “Captain” Kidd- $160 Million
Pirate William “Captain” Kidd of the late 17th century is the reason for the many myths that treasure is buried along every nook and cranny on the coastline of New York State and surrounding areas.
Kidd began pirating around 1698 attacking ships and gaining enormous amounts of riches. When he got word that he was wanted for pirating, Kidd wanted to protect his treasures and began burying them all along North American islands, specifically near “Gardiners Island”. “Captain” Kidd was eventually captured and hanged, and his treasures are still buried to this day.
To add a bit of reality to his many myth’s, in the 1920’s four treasure maps hidden by “Captain” Kidd were found in pieces of furniture supposedly belonging to him.
8 8- Fortune of Jean LaFitte- $2 Million
French pirate Jean LaFitte made his living attacking merchant ships in the Gulf of Mexico and then selling the stolen goods at one of the numerous ports he owned. LaFitte’s accomplice was his brother Pierre, and the two were so good at stealing together they accumulated a huge amount of riches and jewels. As a result the brothers had to start burying it. Many mysteries revolve around the treasure of the LaFitte brothers. At one point they had over 50 ships under their command, so it’s accurate to assume the fortune is going to be large.
After the death of LaFitte around 1830, legends of his treasures started circulating. Allegations have been made that some of his treasure is buried in “Lake Borgne”, which is right off the coast of New Orleans. Another possible site is about three miles east of the “Old Spanish Trail” near the “Sabine River”.
7 7- Treasure of Blackbeard- $2.5 Million
In 1966 off the coast of North Carolina, archeologists discovered a shipwreck, which was believed to be that of the pirate Black Beard. Here’s the catch, not an ounce of treasure was located on or around the ship.
Blackbeard, according to many, is the most notorious of all pirates, as he has accumulated a mass amount of gold and other riches. Many assume the treasure is still off the NC coast, but it may be more difficult to locate as Black Beard himself once said (in regards to the location of his treasure) that "only I and the devil know."
6 6- Jewels of Lima- $60 Million
During the revolt of Peru against Spain in 1820, Captain Thomas of a large British ship was relied upon with the treasures that belonged to the city of Lima. The loot was estimated to be worth $60 million, and included two life-sized statues of the “Blessed Virgin”, both cast in pure gold, and over 273 jeweled swords and candlesticks. Captain Thomas got quite greedy and had all of his passengers killed, sailed to Cocos Island, and buried the immense amount of treasure in a cave in hopes of keeping it all for himself. On his death bed, he gave what some thought was the location of his treasure, but it has yet to be discovered.
5 5- King John’s Royal Riches- $70 Million
In 1216 King John, also known as “The Bad” travelled to Bishops Lynn in Norfolk. He got sick with dysentery and decided that he needed to go back to his Newark Castle. He took what he assumed was a safe route around “The Walsh”, which was known to have dangerous mud flats and surrounded by marshes. King John and his soldiers traveled through the marshes with carts full of his crown jewels that he had inherited via his grandmother, when they were trapped by the tide and drowned. The carts full of an estimated $70 million worth of treasure, including jewels, gold goblets, swords, and coins were lost and never found.
4 4- Treasure of Nuestra Senora de Atocha- $200 Million
In 1622 a Spanish sailing ship Nuestra Senora de Atocha was heading back to Spain after filling up on close to $700 million worth gold, gems, and rare silver, when they were caught in a hurricane. The storm’s impact was so severe that the Nuestra Senora de Atocha was smashed against a coral reef and sunk instantly due to the weight of the treasure.
As a result of the treasure, which is reported to be 17 tons of silver bars, 27 kilos of emeralds, 35 boxes of gold, and 128,000 coins, salvage attempts began almost immediately. The site where Nuestra Senora de Atocha laid at rest was marked and divers went on to other areas (as other ships were impacted by the hurricane). Unfortunately a second hurricane came through the area and ruined any attempts at salvaging the treasure on the ship. In fact the wreckage was nowhere to be found.
Jump to 1985- treasure hunter Mel Fisher found $500 million of the ships buried treasure less than 100 miles off the coast of Key West. Good news however… experts believe that there is still plenty of treasure, close to $200 million in fact, still out there resting with the Nuestra Senora de Atocha.
3 3-Legend of the “Golden Man”- $300 Million
There has long been a myth surrounding “Lake Guatavita” in the Colombian Andes that there is Incan gold hidden at the bottom. The most popular theory is that the Golden Man known as “El Dorado” jumped into the sacred lake, and his followers scattered gold and jewels over the Lake as offerings. As a result many have visited the area with the pursuit of trying to discover the treasure.
Since the arrival of the Spanish in 1536, a tenth of a ton of gold artifacts have been recovered from the muddy bottom of Lake Guatavita. As recent as 1968, a solid gold piece was discovered in a cave that helps add truth to El Dorado or the “Golden Man”.
2 2- Treasure of San Miguel- $2 Billion
Around 1715 Spain had compiled a fleet of ships all filled to the brim with pearls, silver, gold, and jewels, which were estimated to be worth about $2 billion. The ships left from Cuba just before hurricane season to try prevent being invaded by pirates. This turned out to be a bad idea as the entire fleet of 11 ships sunk just six days after setting sail. As a result, $2 billion worth of treasure is now laying at the bottom of the sea.
Since this disastrous event, 7 of the ships have been located, but only a small amount of the valuable treasures have been recovered. It’s believed that the treasure may be off the eastern shores of Florida, but most could be farther out to sea.
1 1- Golden Riches of Flor De Mar- $2.6 Billion
A 400 ton Portuguese ship called Flor De Mar (Flower of the Sea) was caught in a violent storm in 1511. It later shipwrecked on the reefs of Sumatra, broke in two, and all of the treasure was lost at sea. History suggests that the Flor De Mar was carrying close to 60 tons of gold, which is the largest treasure ever assembled in the history of the Portuguese Navy. That being said, the Flor De Mar has become one of the most sought after treasures in history.