New Maritima Press Launches New Website in Recognition of the Real Treasure Island and the Birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson

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Recent archival research reveals that Treasure Island was not just a fantasy of Robert Louis Stevenson. It was real and on the day that preceded his birth by exactly one hundred years, a fortune in Spanish silver was buried in the Caribbean.

The Real Treasure Island

Treasure Island Day

This map has become the most famous treasure map in the world

Long John Silver, Jack Sparrow, and other fictional pirates of the Caribbean owe their existence to a real piracy that occurred in 1750, a time when piracy was almost unheard of. In late August of 1750, the Spanish galleon, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, was driven by a hurricane from her intended course of returning to Spain. She found herself at the desolate shores of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on August 29, 1750. Shattered and unable to sail, she was towed into Ocracoke Inlet in order to save her million dollar cargo. Owen Lloyd and his one-legged brother, John, two merchant captains from Hampton Roads, Virginia, whose own vessel had been driven to Ocracoke, formed a conspiracy and stole the silver from the galleon. Owen Lloyd sailed away with fifty-five chests of pieces of eight and buried his treasure on Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands. It just so happened to be on the same day that would be later remembered as Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday.

The story of the real Treasure Island has been documented by maritime historian, John Amrhein, Jr., in his book Treasure Island: The Untold Story. A tenacious researcher himself, he also had the help of professional investigators in Spain, England, Denmark, The Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, and the Caribbean. It was not buried loot that he would discover, but a virtual treasure trove of documents in a surprising number of archives.

It was a crude treasure map drawn by Robert Louis Stevenson’s stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, that was the initial inspiration for Treasure Island. Stevenson incorporated that map, with his own embellishments, into his story. It was the map of Treasure Island dated August 1, 1750, discovered in a sea chest belonging to a dead pirate named Billy Bones that launched the treasure hunt that became the story’s main plot. This map has become the most famous treasure map in the world.

One could say that it is also Long John Silver Day because this character would never have been born if not for this true life inspiration from 1750. And for you Jack Sparrow fans, feel free to celebrate the day as Pirates of the Caribbean Day because if it were not for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, there would be no Pirates of the Caribbean today.

A new website,, recognizes the many locations in America, the Caribbean, and Europe that played a role in this epic true life adventure. New Maritima Press, the publisher of The Untold Story, invites everyone who wants “a smell of the salt” to climb aboard and discover the real Treasure Island!

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