St. Kitts Featured in New Pirates Book

The book was written by American John Amrhein Jr and is based on a true story of revenge, greed, adventure, and buried treasure that came to pass in 1750.

John Amrhein, Jr., a maritime historian residing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, has laid out this amazing story in his soon-to-be-released book, Treasure Island: The Untold Story. It took nine years to complete with the help of a team of international researchers.

“Amrhein’s work serves as a compendium of historical fact and events surrounding a story that has captured the imaginations of both young and old for nearly a century and half,” says the Monterey Historical Society after a careful study of his 396 page work. And in St. Kitts, Daisey Mottram, of the St. Christopher’s National Trust said that: “The real joy to any St. Christophile is, of course, the fascinating “behind the scenes” tour of the making of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

The links to the Caines Plantation, Dieppe Bay and downtown Basseterre all bring Mr. Ste-venson’s story to life in a way not imagined by the author but much appreciated by anyone with an interest in the history of the island.”

Today, we see the pirate fantasy of Pirates of the Caribbean making billions. “There would be no Pirates of the Caribbean without Treasure Island,” Amrhein contends, “and there would have been no Treasure Island without Owen Lloyd, a former resident of St. Kitts.”

According to the book, a merchant captain named Owen Lloyd, formerly of St. Kitts, stole 52 chests of silver from a bungling Spanish galleon captain at Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, and sailed to Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands to bury his loot.

On August 18, 1750, seven ships left Havana, Cuba, for Spain. Several days out they encountered a hurricane which swept the treasure ships up the American coast. One galleon, the Nues-tra Señora de Guadalupe, carrying nearly a million dollars in silver and other valuable cargo, came to anchor south of Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, dismasted, leaking and had no rudder.

Immediately after the storm, Owen Lloyd and his peg-legged brother, John, were making what seemed to be a routine voyage from Hampton, Virginia, to St. Kitts where Owen was going to reunite with his wife. She had left months before because of the hardships that she and Owen had suffered at the hands of the Spaniards in the war that had just ended between Spain and England.

Their sloop sprang a leak and diverted to Ocracoke where the Lloyd brothers were soon hired to tow the disabled galleon into the inlet. After that was accomplished, the two brothers engineered a scheme to steal the treasure that had been off-loaded onto some English sloops. On October 20, 1750, while the Spanish guards were having lunch, the two sloops weighed anchor and made for the inlet. John Lloyd’s sloop ran aground and he was captured. Owen made a clean getaway and buried his treasure at Norman Island.

The treasure was later recovered but the aftermath left the countries of England, Spain, Denmark, and The Netherlands in a diplomatic turmoil as their Caribbean governors had each dipped their hands into the pot of gold.

St. Kitts became the epicenter of the aftermath of the stolen treasure event, although many of the islands each had its own role. The residents of Tortola were first to discover the buried treasure; Lloyd was captured at St. Eustatius and later escaped; he then went to St. Thomas and was given protection by the governor; he made stops at St. John and St. Croix; some of the treasure was recovered at Anguilla; and agents for the Spanish captain at Antigua supervised the recovery of the treasure.

Owen Lloyd had married Christian Caines of Dieppe Bay, at the northern end of St. Kitts. Her family members were prominent sugar planters. Today, the ruins of this once prosperous plantation can still be seen.

Robert Louis Stevenson also has a strong connection with St. Kitts. His ancestors were sugar merchants and his great grandfather, Alan Stevenson was buried in 1774, at St. George’s church, in Basseterre.

The book is due to be released on 18th August 2011.

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