As I delve into the world of pirate legends, one story stands out as particularly intriguing: the tale of Olivier Levasseur‘s lost treasure. The image of buried gold, jewels, and other riches has long captured our imaginations, but the story of Levasseur’s treasure goes beyond the typical pirate fantasy.
Olivier Levasseur, a pirate who was known by the nickname “The Buzzard”. Many people believe that he was born into a family of pirates, but this is not true. Olivier actually came from a well-to-do family and was born in Calais in 1688. He was literate and had a career in the navy before becoming a privateer during the War of Spanish Succession.
As a privateer, Olivier raided enemy ships for the French in the Caribbean. However, his priorities soon shifted and he began to plunder for his own gain rather than serving his government. Along the way, he accumulated an enormous amount of wealth, becoming one of the most notorious pirates of his time.
Olivier’s exploits were legendary, and he earned the nickname “The Buzzard” because of his ability to spot his prey from miles away. He was a skilled pirate and was feared by many sailors in the Caribbean. Even today, many people are fascinated by his life and his incredible feats of piracy.
The Largest Treasure Stolen By A Pirate
He perpetrated one of piracy’s greatest exploits – the daring capture of the Portuguese great galleon Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape), also known as Virgem Do Cabo (The Virgin of the Cape).
Loaded full of treasures belonging to the Bishop of Goa and the Viceroy of Portugal, who were both on board returning home to Lisbon, the Cabo was a prime target for pirates. But the pirates who captured it were able to do so without firing a single broadside – the Cabo had been damaged in a storm, and the crew had dumped all 72 cannons overboard to avoid capsizing. Anchored off Réunion island to undergo repairs, the vessel was vulnerable, and the pirates seized their chance.
This incredible incident would later inspire Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, in which the galleon is referred to as The Viceroy of the Indies in the account given by his famed fictional character Long John Silver.Author Name
But back to reality: the booty taken from the Cabo was nothing short of spectacular. Bars of gold and silver, dozens of boxes full of golden Guineas, diamonds, pearls, silk, art, and religious objects from the Se Cathedral in Goa – including the Fiery Cross of Goa, made of pure gold and inlaid with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds – were all seized by the pirates. The treasure was so heavy that it required three men to carry it to Olivier Levasseur’s ship. In fact, the haul was so enormous that the pirates didn’t even bother to rob the passengers on board the Cabo, something they would normally have done.
It’s no wonder that the capture of the Cabo remains one of the most talked-about events in piracy history. The sheer scale of the treasure taken by Levasseur and his crew is almost beyond comprehension, and the audacity of the attack is still celebrated by pirate enthusiasts today.
The Hint Of Buried Treasure
According to legend, as Levasseur was about to be executed, he tore a necklace from around his neck and threw it into the crowd, shouting “Find my treasure, the one who may interpret it!” The necklace contained a cryptogram with clues as to where Levasseur’s treasure was hidden, but the code has yet to be deciphered.
While some may dismiss this story as a historical fantasy or an elaborate hoax, the possibility that the code is real and that the treasure exists is too tantalizing to ignore. The quest to decipher the cryptogram has attracted many treasure hunters over the years, with some claiming to have uncovered links to Masonic symbols, the Zodiac, and Hercules’s Twelve Labours.
La Buse was supposed to have his own alphabet too.
The Treasure Hunters
One man, Englishman Reginald Cruise-Wilkins, spent years searching for the treasure in the island of Mahe but died without cracking the final code. See his story and his sons continuation here: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20170425-the-island-with-100-million-hidden
The original necklace has also been lost, adding to the mystery surrounding Levasseur’s treasure.
The story of Cruise-Wilkins is one of determination and perseverance in the pursuit of treasure. He spent many years on the island of Mahé in Réunion, tirelessly searching and digging for any sign of riches.
Despite his best efforts, Cruise-Wilkins never managed to strike it rich. One of his most ambitious expeditions was a trip into a cave in search of treasure. Sadly, all he discovered were some old guns, a handful of coins, and a few pirate sarcophagi.
Undeterred, Cruise-Wilkins remained determined to unlock the secrets of the island and discover its hidden treasures. He became fixated on Labuse’s mysterious code that he believed would lead him to the ultimate prize.
However, fate had other plans for Cruise-Wilkins. He passed away on May 3, 1977, before he could crack the final piece of the code and uncover the treasure he had sought for so long.
Is Olivier Levasseur’s lost treasure real?
Some have pointed out oddities in the story, such as the 200-year gap between Levasseur’s death and the first appearance of the cryptogram in 1934. It is also possible that the cipher is not directly linked to Levasseur but was instead a fabrication or a cruel joke.
1934 was when “Le Flibustier Mysterieux” was published well-respected French marine historian Charles Bourrel de la Roncière in Paris attempting to break the code. Unfortunately the cypher break revealed a lot of nothing.
Regardless of its true origins, the story of Levasseur’s lost treasure continues to fascinate and inspire treasure hunters and puzzle solvers. If you are up for the challenge, who knows, you might just be the one to crack the code and uncover the lost treasure of Olivier Levasseur.