Most that us have actually grown up through the story the Robert luigi Stevenson’s Treasure Island (1883), v its swashbuckling tale of “buccaneers and buried gold”. So countless clichés around pirates start here, with long John Silver arising as the stereotypical pirate in our imagination.

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I only freshly learnt of the tale’s connection to Goa. Among the several historic allusions to real pirates and piracies, Stevenson additionally cites (through the character of lengthy John Silver) a ship called The Viceroy that the Indies sailing from Goa, and taken by real-life pirate Edward England (1685-1721) turn off the Malabar coast, once John silver was serving together with England, aboard his pirate delivery Cassandra.

In actual life, there to be no ship dubbed The Viceroy that the Indies, yet there tho is some factual basis for its consists in Stevenson’s tale. In April 1721, once one that the biggest recorded piracies took place, the hapless victim to be the great, 700-tonne Portuguese galleon Nossa Senhora do Cabo e São Pedro de Alcântara (also referred to as Virgem execute Cabo, or La Vierge du cap in French). It was heavily laden v “the wealth of the entire viceroyalty of Goa”. The pirates that led the raid indigenous the Cassandra were man Taylor (originally england’s second-in-command, yet who had actually England marooned in Mauritius over a misunderstanding), and also Olivier Levasseur (1688-1730), who was nicknamed La Buse or The Buzzard, or occasionally La Bouche, The Mouth, because that his ruthlessness and also swift attacks.

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Treasure Island through George Wylie Hutchinson.

Among the several influential passengers board the vessel were the Archbishop the Goa (Patriarch the the east Indies) Dom Sebastião de Andrade, and also the outgoing Viceroy the Goa Dom Luís Carlos Inácio Xavier de Meneses, 5th Count that Ericeira. Interestingly, the latter would return to Goa in 1741 (with second title of first Marquis that Louriçal) because that his second tenure as Viceroy, just to dice in office simply a year later. Stevenson conflated the location of the Archbishop and also the Viceroy to christen the fictional ship that Silver’s account as the Viceroy the the east Indies.

The treasure on board had silver and also gold bars, dozens the boxes complete of golden guineas, pearls, diamonds and other gems, silk, spices, art and Church regalia specifically from the Se Cathedral. The hoard was so vast that the passengers to be simply permitted by pirates to keep their an individual valuables v them and collection free, an incident unusual because that piracy. In monetary terms, the takings were approximated to be worth £875,000, though part inflate it to £1 million, others to a great £1 billion, and yet others to $400 million. The is still regarded as the largest heist in pirating history.

The incident aided Luso-French relations, together the branch of Bourbon, Beauvolier de Courchant, secured the relax of the count of Ericeira and his entourage and listed them sanctuary for months, before carrying them to Mozambique. The resultant cordial relations between Goa and also Pondicherry opened up French ships to Goa because that repairs but not for trade, and ships native the Compagnie des Indes were permitted to go and take servants in Mozambique. But the counting of Ericeira was received in disgrace in ~ Lisbon, and also banished indigenous court because that 10 years.

Good fortune

But just how did together a haul loss to pirates? part accounts to speak the galleon was damaged in a storm, and the crew to be compelled to sink every its 72 cannon to stop capsizing, and also had to anchor off the island that Bourbon (today Réunion) in the Indian ocean to undergo repairs. The ship was for this reason taken in an unlike fight, as many of the crew to be ashore as well.

Among the Church’s valuables to be the Flaming or Fiery cross of Goa, so called on account the its brightness, as it was believed to it is in made of pure gold, inlaid with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The was explained as being seven feet tall, and so hefty that it required three men to carry it to Levasseur’s ship.

The pirates climate returned, stunned by their literally good fortune, to their base in Madagascar. Here, one version claims that they melted their very own ship the Cassandra (another account claims Taylor took the Cassandra because that himself), and christened your newly-acquired delivery the Victorious (le Victorieux). The loot to be divided, through Le Buse keeping the ship and also the Fiery overcome of Goa.

But what an excellent is a pirate story unless we know where the sweetheart is buried?

‘Find mine treasure’

In 1722, Taylor and also Levasseur parted methods after an argument. Taylor go on to the Caribbean and also then to Panama, where he and also his crew were pardoned (most likely after receiving a hefty bribe) by the branch of Portobello in exchange because that the Cassandra.

Levasseur renders an even an ext interesting story: that contemplated taking up the French government’s elegance to all pirates that would offer up your profession. But the French wanted too much of the loot for Levasseur’s liking, for this reason he settled down incognito in the Seychelles till he was uncovered out by a bounty-hunter. The was captured near ft Dauphin, Madagascar, and also hanged for piracy at 5 pm on July 7, 1730, at Saint-Denis, Réunion.

In a dice theatrical flourish, he allegedly flung a paper with a 17-line cryptogram in ~ the crowd, exclaiming “Find my treasure, ye who may know it!” countless doubt that this can be possible: most hangings arisen at dawn, not at dusk and it would be extremely challenging for a prisoner with his hand bound, to have the ability to make together a gesture.

But what adheres to is a real-life an enig saga that would put The Da Vinci Code in the shade, and it is fairly surprising it hasn’t attracted the fist of Hollywood. The ciphers, codes and also clues involve the Zodiac, the Clavicles the Solomon, and the Twelve Labours of Hercules.

The treasure has actually still no been found, return treasure-hunters room tantalisingly close.

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The epitaph come Levasseur’s dig at Saint-Denis has a skull and also crossbones, under i beg your pardon reads “Oliver Levassuer dit La Buse – pirate, cumeur des Mers du Sud, Executé à Saint-Paul 1730”. That has come to be a shrine for those who believe his heart still has actually supernatural powers.