The history of Cocos Island is replete with true tales of pirates and explorers. The evidence is everywhere. It can be found in the archives of Spain and England as well as on Cocos itself. For four centuries, adventurers and sailors have left their mark carved in the numerous stones and boulders along the beach at Chatham Bay.
The Portuguese Captain Juan Cabezas is thought to have been the first to have made a written record of the island in 1526.
In 1685 buccaneers, led by Captain Edward Davis aboard his ship Bachelor's Delight, sacked the Nicaraguan city of León. In 1684, the famous Captain Cooke had died in the Golf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. By the time Captain Davis reached Cocos Island, he had a rich treasure and 1000 men under him.
It is recorded that Davis intercepted several cargoes shipped from Lima to Panama en route to Spain. These were also reputedly stashed at Cocos. Dr. Lionel Wafer, the buccaneer surgeon and naturalist has given us vivid descriptions of these days on Cocos, when Davis and his men buried their treasures and lived on the island.
The most valuable treasure said to be buried (or to have once been buried) on Cocos Island is the fabled Treasure of Lima. According to the legend, in 1821 a Captain Thompson aboard the Mary Dear was entrusted with guarding the treasure during a rebel invasion. Sailing out of the harbor his men quickly succumbed to gold fever and ended stashing their new-found treasure at Cocos.
Piracy was a lucrative industry in the 1800s and none was more successful than Benito Benito (also Benitez or Don Pedro). He was known as the "terror of the Atlantic" until 1818. Reputed to have left his Captain's "third" of treasure, or some $300 million in todays dollars, on Cocos Island.
In 1865 however, his strategic hideout again became Cocos Island, which Bonito found perfectly suited as a base for operations. These factual pirate stories demonstrate the Island's colorful and extremely well documented history.
Over the years numerous treasure-hunters have mounted expeditions to Cocos. A man named August Gissler was granted half-ownership of the island and he spent 19 years and tens of thousands of dollars searching unsuccessfully for the elusive treasures of Cocos.
Many partnerships have been formed and the resulting treasure companies have descended upon Cocos using the most modern of technologies available, enduring hardships and expending countless man-hours in search of the fabled treasures.
With it all, you can be certain that out there right now, new expeditions are being planned. For as long as there is the lure of buried treasure there shall be schemers and dreamers who think they are the ones who can finally discover it.