Buried Treasures That Still Remain Undiscovered

Closeup of an ancient key washed up on the shore

Like many of the players here at Booty Bingo, you probably like pirates and treasure. But have you ever wondered what buried treasures may still be out there today, waiting to be discovered? We take a look at some of the greatest buried treasures (real or legendary) that remain missing to this day.

Blackbeard’s Treasure

Blackbeard may be one of the most infamous pirates of all time, and for good reason. This notorious captain, whose real name was Edward Teach, caused havoc and mayhem for many ships on the Virginia and Carolina coasts, as well as in the Caribbean Sea. After years of piracy, a British naval force was sent to deal with him. The British succeeded, but his legend lives on as his rumoured buried treasure was never recovered.

Blackbeard kept a ledger that only recorded approximately $12.5 million of his treasure, but the same ledger also stated that his real wealth lay in a location “known only to him and the devil”.

Blackbeard knew he didn’t have long to live after he realised both the Spanish and British were after him. It is believed that his hoard of stolen wealth likely remains hidden in a cave in North Carolina.

The Treasure of Lima

Aerial view of Cocos Island, off the coast of Costa Rica

This sordid tale of betrayal doesn’t involve pirates, but colonisers who turned on each other.

During the Spanish expansion into the Americas in the 1820s, the Peruvians (who were obviously not happy with these foreign invaders) went to war against the colonisers. At this point, the Spanish had already amassed a large amount of wealth, and the Spanish Viceroy realised that the riches needed to be removed from the area in order to protect them.

To secure what is today known as the Treasure of Lima, the Spanish commissioned a British captain they thought they could trust, Captain William Thompson. They stored their massive wealth on his ship, the Mary Dear, but the captain betrayed them and fled to Cocos Island, where their treasure (and supposedly many hauls of riches stolen by other pirates) was buried.

The Spaniards were not just going to let this betrayal go unpunished, so they hunted down Thompson and his crew, who were successfully captured. Thompson and his first mate agreed to reveal the location of the stolen treasure, but managed to escape.

While some of it was supposedly recovered by John Keating, a man who gained Thompson’s trust in 1844, much of the Treasure of Lima is still believed to be buried on the island today.

The Treasure of La Noche Triste

This is another tale of stolen riches involving the Spanish, although this time it was the locals who turned against the colonisers.

Hernán Cortés was a Spanish coloniser who, depending on which side you were on, had a very successful career as a conqueror of the Aztecs. Despite his relatively humble beginnings, this lesser nobleman managed to avoid being punished for mutiny after ignoring orders from the Governor of New Spain, who had a tense relationship with Cortés. Despite his defiance, Cortés continued his expansion of the Spanish empire and was quite successful in doing so.

However, not everything went as well as the Spaniard could have hoped. After one of his lieutenants triggered a rebellion in Tenochtitlán, Cortés returned to the city to try and resolve the dispute. However, he failed to do so and was forced to flee.

Cortés and his men weren’t planning on leaving empty-handed, however, and raided the city for its treasures as they fled. This wealth proved to be the undoing for some of the colonisers, whose boats sank with the gold and other artefacts they had stolen.

Much of the wealth stolen during their escape is believed to still be missing, possibly buried at the bottom of a canal that was connected to Lake Texcoco. In 1981 a construction worker found what is believed to be a gold bar that was stolen by Cortés.

The gold of Leon Trabuco

Rows of pure gold ingots

This is a more modern tale of buried treasure, even though it may be nothing more than fiction.

Leon Trabuco was a Mexican millionaire who supposedly invested millions of dollars in buying gold, which he planned to sell in the US as the Great Depression rocked the country. Trabuco believed that as the Dollar weakened, the value of gold would increase, and that he could take advantage of this situation to make himself even richer.

Over time, he and his men are believed to have melted down several tonnes of gold into ingots, which he planned to smuggle and hide in the US. When he and his associates couldn’t find a good location to stash the gold, they decided to bury it in Mexico instead. However, Trabuco would be the only one who knew the exact location of the buried gold.

As he predicted, the price of gold spiked, but new legislation in the US also made it illegal to privately own gold. This made it impossible for Trabuco and his conspirators to complete their plan.

As the years passed, the men involved in the scheme passed away, and eventually Trabuco, the only one who knew the exact location, passed as well. The bars of gold are still believed to be hidden, possibly somewhere between the Ute and Navajo Indian Reservations in the USA.

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