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Outer Banks Author to Sign Books at Dare Days in Manteo, NC, Saturday June 1
The true story that would inspire Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island began at Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina in 1750. Come meet the author of Treasure Island: The Untold Story this Saturday.
A Spanish fleet left Havana, Cuba, on August 18, 1750. The seven ships encountered a hurricane off of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and were driven up the coast of North America. Four of the seven ships were wrecked in North Carolina and Virginia but the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe came safely to anchor fifteen miles south of Ocracoke Inlet. She had lost her masts and rudder and was unable to proceed any further but it seemed that the million dollar cargo was safe, at least temporarily.
Captain Juan Manuel Bonilla hired Owen Lloyd and his one-legged brother, John, two merchant captains from Hampton Roads, Virginia, to tow his galleon into Ocracoke. Once that was accomplished, the captain had to fend off the Bankers who wanted to seize the treasure as well as North Carolina customs officials, and even his mutinous crew. The treasure was unloaded onto two sloops which had come in to trade. Bonilla’s intention was to ship his treasure to Norfolk, Virginia.
On October 18, Captain Bonilla left for New Bern to meet with the governor leaving armed guards on the sloops and ordered them to remove the sails. His mutinous boatswain, Pedro Rodriguez, had plans of his own to steal the money.
Owen Lloyd had a very narrow window of opportunity, so October 20, 1750, he raised the sails while the Spaniards were having lunch. He cleared the treacherous shoals of the inlet and made it to Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands where he buried his loot on November 13. Exactly one hundred years later on this day Robert Louis Stevenson was born. History now shows that the story of the real Treasure Island began at Ocracoke. Stevenson’s own treasure map, the most famous treasure map in the world, was dated August 1, 1750.
The amazing history of the 1750 fleet does not stop here. The escorting warship, La Galga, ran ashore on Assateague Island, Virginia. Legend says that the wild horses that roam there today descended from those that swam ashore from this shipwreck. This legend drew Marguerite Henry to Chincoteague in 1946. She published Misty of Chincoteague in 1947. Since then, millions of copies have been sold and it was made into a movie in 1961. In 1983, Amrhein found the legendary wreck buried within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Not only was he guided by his meticulous research in Spanish and American archives, but also by the long remembered accounts of the legend told to him by local residents whose ancestors witnessed the shipwreck.
In 2007, Amrhein published The Hidden Galleon which retells not only the rich history of the galleon but his adventure of discovery as well. Come meet the author and here his stories first hand. http://www.treasureislandtheuntoldstory.com
Page Updated Last on: May 30, 2013