Royal Merchant: the mysterious disappearance of a billion dollars
The seventeenth century was the golden for pirates. Ships plied the Atlantic triangle trade routes between the Caribbean, Africa and European ports bringing profits like clockwork. And while Spain and England licking their wounds, the time was relatively peaceful. British ship Merchant Royal had as many as three quiet years (1637-1640), raising money and preparing for departure to their hearth and home.
All hands on deck
Among its sister ship, Dover Merchant, the merchant made a short stop in Cadiz, which is the Spanish coast. Here the captain replenished supplies of food and drinking water - and at the same time, all of a sudden, received an additional load of gold coins. The fact is that standing on the fairway of the Spanish merchant suddenly burst into flames, and the owners of the port Englishman offered to transport precious cargo for a considerable sum.
On board the Merchant Royal had already settled freely bags with gold reserves, which would be enough to build a fleet. 1 million pounds of silver, 404 Mexican silver bars, as well as snacks, more than 500 000 gold coins. To date, this amount is equivalent to $ 1, 2 billion dollars. And what do the Spanish authorities? They offer the captain to deliver a huge amount of money - the salary garrison of 30 000 people deployed in the near Flanders.
A small problem
Leaving Cadiz, Merchant Royal and Dover Merchant had to move up the west coast of France, briefly bailiff to the south coast of England, to unload the basic holds in Dartmurte. Spanish as a golden calf to move on to Belgium. There was only one small, yet marked in Cadiz problem: Merchant Royal got a hole in the body and therefore could not maintain a constant cruising speed.
The transition to the English coast was difficult. Storms thoroughly battered the already wounded "Merchant Royal." September 23, 1641 at Cape Leende End, the vessel has received a strong flow. In just a few hours of the hold he overflowed with water, and the team had to leave the floating bank.
The fate of the crew of
The ship dragged him into the abyss of 18 people. The rest - 40 sailors and a captain, were able to escape on boats. Judging by how many people died, the ship sank very quickly. Chance to remove the practical was not precious cargo with him.
In the century treasure has never been found. Several generations have tried to discover the "Merchant Royal", but the flow and water depth made it virtually impossible enterprise. In the 90s of the last century the history drowning Bank resurfaced: hunting moved numerous private companies.
Who's the boss
In 2007, luck finally smiled divers of Odyssey Marine Exploration. In 40 documented miles from the crash site, "Merchant Royal", the remains of the ship were found. From the bottom rose more than 30 000 gold coins - but it is only a pittance of the transported treasures. In the fight for the inheritance he entered Spain and England: the two countries are trying to take away the treasures found in a small private company.
In addition, it remains unknown fate of all the lost treasures. Do they lie attributed tide, a little further on the bottom? Or locals long ago collected gold coins from their beaches - it took several centuries? And, most importantly, whether it is lost Merchant Royal is a treasure? More recently, a strange written evidence was found indirectly mentioning the tricky operation, if planned two captains. It is likely that the ship was sunk deliberately, and all the treasures simply divided the crews of two ships.