Saturday, October 01, 2005


Chilean Pirate Treasure Sparks Controversy


Ohmy News
September 29, 2005

Locals fume over government plans to confiscate loot; company's claims called 'nonsense'.
Speculation about the pirate treasure that is supposedly buried on Chile's Juan Fernandez Island is increasing. The Chilean government has angered the islanders after stating that it will confiscate all of it for public use. The 1,500 islanders are now demanding that 25 percent of the approximately US$10 billion should be for them.

In other developments, Maria Beeche, the Chilean partner of American millionaire Bernard Keiser, has declared that they know the real location of the treasure.

"The only treasure here is that buried by Captain [George] Anson, all the other stories told by Wagner [a geological prospecting company] are nonsense, they only want publicity for their robot. The Pope's rings? The key to the Jerusalem's wall? Very funny!"

"Bernard's machine points to another spot, Wagner's robot has only found fool's gold," she added.

Beeche said that according to her information there are 80 kilograms of gold bars, silver bars and barrels full of jewels and gold coins, but nowhere near to 800 tons.

"Who is going to be able to walk around with 800 tons of gold in these hills? And in 1715? They must be joking!" she said.

Beeche's version is as follows: In 1715 a Spanish captain defected to Britain and ran off with a ship full of Aztec gold to Juan Fernandez Island and buried it there. He also gave the British a map with the location of the treasure. However, it was only 40 years later that the British sent an expedition led by Captain Cornelius Webb to recover the treasure.

He found it, but his ship was destroyed by a storm and could not return to Valparaiso. He sent a letter to Lord George Anson specifying where the treasure was. Anson went to the island, but was unable to understand the coded message by Webb.

Two centuries later, the father of Beeche's husband acquired the map and spent all his life looking for it on the island. It has been Beeche who has continued with the search along with Bernard Keiser.


Pirate treasure rumour sparks gold fever
September 30, 2005

THE claimed discovery of a $US10 billion 18th century treasure trove on Chile's Robinson Crusoe island has touched off an epidemic of gold fever among treasure hunters, residents and officials.

The modern-day gold rush when Chilean security firm Wagner announced that its ground-scanning robot had located a legendary pirate hideaway containing a lost bounty of jewels and gold coins.

Robinson Crusoe lies 600km west of Chile's central coast in the Pacific, and was a refuge for corsairs crossing the ocean as well as the home of Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk, the Crusoe of Daniel Defoe's famous adventure story.

According to legend, Spanish navigator Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria stashed the fortune, amassed over centuries by pirates on the island in 1715. It was then found by a British sailor, Cornelius Webb, and taken to another area of the island to be reburied.

Legend has it the booty, weighing 800 tonnes, includes two papal rings and a storied jewel known as the "Rose of the Winds".

Members of an expedition organized by Wagner salvage believe they have pinpointed the site, according to attorney Fernando Uribe Echeverria, who is advising the team.

"It is the greatest treasure in history," Echeverria told reporters, adding that searchers would start digging in a matter of days once permits had been granted. He claimed the treasure was worth $US10 billion.

The island of 600 people is part of the Juan Fernandez archipelago administered by Chile's National Forestry Corporation as a national park and biosphere reserve.

In 1998, an expedition led by Dutchman Bernard Kaiser with US and Chilean colleagues failed in their bid to track down the same treasure, but Wagner's expedition has earned extra credibility due to the reputation of its sophisticated robot, which has already solved several crime mysteries in Chile.

But even though the treasure seekers have yet to unearth a single gold coin, the lure of hidden fortune has inflamed passions among the island's 600 inhabitants, mainly fishermen.

"People here are talking about nothing but the discovery of the treasure and what they could do with the money," the island's director of tourism, Calos Satto, told AFP.
Mayor Leopoldo Gonzalez has called for calm.

"The exact location (of the treasure) is not yet known, only the zone. It's too early to dream," he said, recalling the failure of previous expeditions.

"For the moment it's better that we don't know, otherwise everyone would be digging holes with picks and shovels."

Wagner has kept the exact location of its "discovery" a closely guarded secret, pending authorisation from the government to commence excavation. The company has said only that "tonnes of jewels and gold" have been found by the robot in the region of the "three points".

Inevitably, everyone is already arguing about who has the rights to the treasure.

According to two articles in Chilean law, the loot is either to be split evenly between the finders and the state, or handed over entirely to the tax office.

Education Minister Sergio Bitar has stated publicly that the government should get the cash.

Wagner insists that it can keep half of what it digs up. The company says it will donate its part of the treasure to charity, insisting that its only interest is publicity for its robot design.

Mayor Gonzalez, for his part, has demanded that half the proceeds from the treasure be handed out to the islanders, with each one receiving more than $US8m.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?