Captain Kidd’s Treasure


Following on the Treasure Hunting theme from the last post, I thought I’d reveal my work on the fabled buried hoard of the famous old 17th century privateer, Captain Kidd. He basically captured a ship he shouldn’t have done off the SW coast of India, then sold most the goods at Fort Cochin. The gold & booty was then shared among the crew, some got a single share, some a half, & Kidd a whopping 40 shares. Lots of gold bars were suddenly in his possession. Kidd then sailed to Madgascar & roll on a few more months he’s caught in New York & sent to trial. The trial notes tells us;

Out of the goods that were taken, some were sold in the Country there, the produce of them was so much money, it is proved, that the money was divided, & pursuant of the articles set up, you were to have forty shares & the rest of the men whole, or half shares, as they deserved… One witness speaks positively of the distribution of the Goods that remained unsold, that they were divided according to the same porportions as the articles mentioned,  every one of the prisoners had his share. There belonged 40 shares to Capt Kid, & shares & half shares to the rest.


The gold & his share of the booty were never found. The following 1701 broadside song “Captain Kid’s Farewell to the Seas, or, the Famous Pirate’s Lament (to the tune of Coming Down)” lists, “Two hundred bars of gold, and rix dollars manifold, we seized uncontrolled.”

Upon the ocean seas while we sailed, [while we sailed],
Upon the ocean seas while we sailed,
Upon the ocean seas
A warlike Portuguese
In sport did us displease, while we sailed.

At famous Malabar when we sailed, [when we sailed],
At famous Malabar when we sailed,
At famous Malabar
We went ashore, each tar,
And robbed the natives there, when we sailed.

Then after this we chased, while we sailed, [while we sailed],
Then after this we chased, while we sailed,
Then after this we chased
A rich Armenian, graced
With wealth, which we embraced, while we sailed.

Many Moorish ships we took while we sailed, [while we sailed],
Many Moorish ships we took while we sailed,
Many Moorish ships we took;
We did still for plunder look;
All conscience we forsook while we sailed.

I, Captain Culliford, while I sailed, [while I sailed],
I Captain Culliford, while I sailed,
I, Captain Culliford,
Did many merchants board,
Which did much wealth afford, while we sailed.

Two hundred bars of gold, while we sail’d, [while we sail’d],
Two hundred bars of gold, while we sail’d,
Two hundred bars of gold
And rix dollars manifold
We seized uncontrolled, while we sailed.

St. John, a ship of fame, when we sailed, [when we sailed],
St. John, a ship of fame, when we sailed,
St. John, a ship of fame
We plundered when she came,
With more than I could name, when we sailed.

The question is, did Kidd bury the treasure somewhere between Cochin & New York? In the early 20th century, four treasure maps were found in various false-bottom’d bureaus & workboxes by Kidd-memorobilia hunters Guy and Hubert Palmer which point to the treasure’s location on an un-named island. Looking at the evidence, there is a logical train of thought which points to a Minicoy island, part of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. For a start, its the first port of call more or less on the way to Madagascar, 250 miles out of Cochin.


Kidd certainly knew the area. In 1697 Kidd and his crew brought their ship, the Adventure Galley, to the Laccadive Islands, to the north of Minicoy. The undisciplined crew chopped up the local boats for firewood, and raped the local women. When the men retaliated by killing the ship’s cooper, the pirates attacked the village and beat up the people who lived there.


The above map is revealing. When it says ‘China Sea’ we must understand that in 16-17th century maps of the Indian Ocean, it appears as the “Ocean Oriental”. If we read the longitude as 73.30 – the first number is obscurely written – we gain a place only 40 miles to the north of Minicoy, as shown below.



Minicoy & – minus its sandbar – certainly looks like the island on the map. As for the written information reveal’d on the map, Minicoy has a lagoon, a reef fringe, its a turtle breeding area, & its quite famous for shipwrecks when, ‘prior to 1865 most of the wrecks occurred on the northern islands and reefs of Minicoy.’ I mean, its quite a contender is wee Minicoy.The only problem is the mention of hills. There are slightly elevated areas on minicoy, but nothing like a hill as we know them. Still, with a chisper or two here & there, it is very possible that the so-called hills are exaggerations. If I am correct – & I usually am – then the treasure will be somewhere about the red cross on the bottom map.




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