The History Of The Treasure

In the 16th century, Spain controlled most of South America after defeating the Inca's.

Over the next 3 centuries the Catholic Church gathered a large wealth of treasure from throughout South America. Early in the 19th century, wars of independence put heavy pressure on Lima and many other large cities throughout the Spanish empire.

Finally in 1820, Lima had to be evacuated.

The Treasure Of Lima - Cocos IslandCredit:

The viceroy of Lima, José de la Serna decided to protect the cities wealth by transporting the treasure of Lima to Mexico to ensure its safety.

The treasure had jewels, gold, statues, jewellery and other valuables putting its modern value at around 60 million dollars.

Transporting The Treasure

In charge of transporting the treasure of Lima to Mexico was the captain of the "Mary Dear", William Thompson, but ultimately the trip did not go so smoothly.

During the trip, Thompson and his men turned on the accompanying guards that were there to ensure the treasure reached Mexico. They killed the Peruvian guards and threw them overboard into the ocean.

A New Destination

William Thompson then redirected the ships path of travel and headed for Cocos Island, just off the coast of Costa Rica. Thompson and his men allegedly buried the treasure of Lima on Cocos Island. They then split up and decided to lay low until the situation had calmed down, then they would return and split the treasure evenly.

Cocos Island(82197)Credit: Flickr - Glenna MarieHowever, only shortly after the "Mary Dear" was captured, along with William Thompson and  the entire crew. After a trail, the entire crew except Thompson and the first mate were hanged.

After making a deal to save their lives, Thompson and his first mate agreed to take the Spanish to the hidden treasure of Lima.

But when they reached Cocos Island, Thompson and the first mate escaped into the jungle and were not seen again, until 1844.

Finding The Lost Treasure Of Lima

In 1846, a Canadian sailor named John Keating managed to find a small part of the treasure of Lima. Keating said that in 1844 he met a sailor named William Thompson in Cuba, who told him he was 1 of only 2 survivors who stole the great treasure of Lima.

Cocos Island(82199)Credit: Flickr - anja_johnson


Keating ended up living with Thompson for several months, where Thompson explained exactly where the treasure of Lima was hidden and may have provided Keating with a map.

John Keating lived the rest of his life as a wealthy man in St. Johns, Newfoundland until his death in 1882.

Expeditions To Cocos Island

Since then there have been hundreds of expeditions to Cocos Island in search for the great treasure. Some have found gold coins, and others only iron pots.

Even at age 27, Franklin D Roosevelt, future president of the United States and friends searched for the treasure in 1910.

But to this day the treasure of Lima has never been fully discovered.

Captain William Thompson on his death bed was to have said...

"Disembark in the Bay of Hope between two islets, in water 5 fathoms deep. Walk 350 paces along the course of the stream then turn north-northeast for 850 yards, stake, setting sun stake draws the silhouette of an eagle with wings spread. At the extremity of sun and shadow, cave marked with a cross. There lies the treasure."