The beautiful weather of the Gulf coast has been popular with people for much longer than the recent influx of people buying new homes in Tampa Florida. Some of those people had very colorful lives and stories and according to local legend, they may have left something behind.
Pirate’s Ill-Gotten Booty
Local Tampa pirate lore claims that both mythical and flesh and blood pirates found a hideout and a haven along the warm beaches and islands of the Tampa Bay area. Undoubtedly the most famous pirate is the one least likely to have ever existed: Jose Gaspar.
According to legend, Jose Gaspar, calling himself Gasparilla, sailed the Gulf waters and the Spanish Main during the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s. His existence has never been proven, but that hasn’t stopped treasure hunters from roaming the coastline and coastal islands searching for millions of dollars’ worth of stolen treasure.
Even though the Gasparilla stories have never been proven, the possibility of it keeps amateur treasure hunters busy to this day.
Spoils of War
Another Tampa Bay tale recounts the story of the Seminole Indian tribe. According to legend the tribe was paid over $100,000 in gold coins by the British in their fight against the colonies. While fleeing Andrew Jackson the tribe found the gold too heavy to allow them to travel quickly and subsequently dumped it on an island somewhere near the western end of Tampa Bay.
A Pirate Colony
A well-documented story can be found in the tale of Captain Henry Ross. He settled and ruled over a pirate colony on Ross Island, named for himself, which has a shallow lagoon that allowed his ship to slip in unseen. From his colony he managed pirating missions, smuggling, and participated in the slave trade.
His reign of crime and piracy came to an end in the 1820’s when the United States Navy followed Ross’s ship to the island and sunk it from a distance. No treasure was ever found and many treasure hunters believe that Ross island holds buried gold and silver.
Great Weekend Hobby
Treasure hunting may seem like a pipe dream, but there’s much more to the hobby than just hoping to strike it rich. Most treasure hunters have a passion for history, a love of the outdoors, and an unquenchable passion for discovery. If you’re searching for a way to spend your beautiful weekends around Tampa Bay, take up treasure hunting. It will get you outside into the sun, near the water, and probably make some new friends.