Monday, 27 July 2020

Grand Manan - Captain Kidd's Money Cove

Grand Manan Island is the largest of the Fundy Islands in the Bay of Fundy. It is also the primary island in the Grand Manan Archipelago, sitting at the boundary between the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine on the Atlantic coast. As early as 1875 searches were made on the west side of the island for treasure buried by Captain William Kidd.
For nearly 200 years, this remote area of the island has been called the "Money Cove".The tale goes a widow had a dream. A headless Negro appeared and said, "In a certain spot on Grand Manan there lies, in a hogshead, the buried treasure of Captain Kidd. I was killed by Captain Kidd's pirates that I might guard the buried treasure. I am weary of my task. I wish to tell you where this treasure is, and then rest in peace. I will show you the place."
Captain William Kidd (c. 22 January 1645 – 23 May 1701) was a Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. He was hanged on 23 May 1701, at 'Execution Dock', Wapping, in London. During the execution, the hangman's rope broke and Kidd was hanged on the second attempt. His body was gibbeted over the River Thames at Tilbury Point—as a warning to future would-be pirates—for three years.

The belief that Kidd had left buried treasure contributed to the growth of his legend.
Just before his death on the gallows, Captain Kidd said, "After my death, you may find treasure I have buried in a place where two tides meet."

Some point to the Bay of Fundy, where two tides meet and the place where Captain Kidd hid his treasure.

Indian Beach
In 2007 a wreck of a treasure ship captured by William Kidd was found in the Caribbean. Lying in just 10ft of water, the Quedah Merchant is on the seabed off the island of Hispaniola, which is split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Marine archaeologists were amazed that the wreck, which was scuttled in 1699, had lain undiscovered for so long.

The Quedah Merchant was perhaps Kidd's greatest prize. A 400-ton Moorish trader from Armenia, it was loaded with gold, silver and fine silks.

Herring "elevator" to lift fish up from the weirs

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Yamashita's Gold - Imelda Marcos’ jewelry

In the closing months of World War II General Yamashita Tomoyuki was in charge of hiding tons of Japan's looted gold and treasure.

Expert teams accompanying Japan's armed forces systematically striped anything of value from conquered territories. An effective US blockade prevented shipment and at one time there were more than 175 Imperial treasure sites hidden in caves and tunnels throughout the Philippines.

With US forces closing in, the chief engineers of all the vaults were called together with General Yamashita 67 meters underground in Tunnel 8 in the mountains of Luzon. They became drunk on sake and sang patriotic songs.

At midnight, General Yamashita Tomoyuki and his aids slipped out. Dynamite charges were set off in the access tunnels, entombing the engineers.

The General escaped to Tokyo by submarine and three months later surrendered to American troops.
Yamashita's driver led the Americans to more than a dozen treasure vaults in the rugged country north of Manila. What they found astounded everyone.

In November 1945, General MacArthur strolled down row after row of gold bars stacked two metres tall during a tour. In another 500 meter tunnel west of Mindanao, 12.5kg Gold bars were stacked 1 meter high.
After discussions with his cabinet, President Harry Truman kept the recovery efforts a state secret.
After surrendering on September 2, 1945, General Yamashita was charged with war crimes. During his trial there was no mention made of plundered treasure or of Japanese looting during the war.

On 23 February 1946, at Los BaƱos, Laguna Prison Camp, 30 miles (48 km) south of Manila, Yamashita was hanged.

In 1992, Imelda Marcos claimed that Yamashita's gold accounted for the bulk of the wealth of her husband, Ferdinand Marcos. Despite the best efforts of treasure hunters, no gold hoards have ever (officially) been found.
Former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ jewelry and real estate are among the P18.2 billion worth of recovered ill-gotten assets of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The Hawaii collection comprises jewels seized by the United States Bureau of Customs from the Marcoses when they fled to Honolulu during the 1986 People Power revolt.
The government still holds about 760 pieces of Mrs. Marcos’ jewelry in three collections, valued at a total of $6 million. That includes 300 pieces of jewelry retrieved from the Malacanang Palace right after People’s Power Revolution, 400 items confiscated in Hawaii, and 60 items seized by the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs from a Greek national accused of smuggling the jewels out of the country.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

The Watlington Viking Hoard

A rare Viking hoard of arm rings, coins and silver ingots was unearthed in Oxfordshire in 2015. The hoard was buried near Watlington around the end of the 870s, in the time of the 'Last Kingdom'.

The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex were fighting for their survival from the threat of the Vikings, which lead to the unification of England. The hoard is a "nationally significant find".
The hoard was probably buried in the late 870s, when the Anglo-Saxons began to push the Vikings north of the Thames into East Anglia. Prior to 878, the Vikings had been increasing raids from Denmark. The Anglo Saxons began to re-establish their rule over southern England and won a decisive battle at Edington in 878.

Experts speculate that a Viking fleeing the Anglo Saxons after this battle buried it on his way north, on the ancient road from East Anglia to Wiltshire and Dorset.
The hoard consists of 186 coins - some fragmentary - and includes rarities from the reign of King Alfred "the Great" of Wessex, who reigned from 871 to 899, and King Ceolwulf II, who reigned in Mercia from 874 to 879.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

The Griffin

The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet.

The lion was considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, so the griffin was thought of as king of all creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure. There is evidence of representations of griffins in ancient Iranian and ancient Egyptian art dating to before 3000 BC.
Romans often associated the mythical creatures with the sun god Apollo, giving the Griffin an air of power and dominance. A Griffin is 'as fiery as the Sun,' and was a creature to be feared and given respect. In Medieval Europe, the Griffin became a Christian symbol for the Church's ideals on marriage. According to legend, Griffins mated for life and in the event of the death of a partner, the surviving griffin would never seek another mate. The creature was also used to symbolize Jesus.

The creature's association with Christianity and the Divinity meant they became protectors of the dead.
In the eastern world, a part-man, part-bird creature, the Garuda, served as a mount for the Hindu god Vishnu.

The griffin has been part of human culture since ancient times and persists today, as seen in various school emblems, mascots, and popular literature and movies.