Pirates Treasure of The Seychelles

Because many of the islands in the Seychelles group were used as pirate hideaways, stories of buried treasure have always fuelled the imagination of Seychellois and some have made it their life's quest. Actual evidence of discovering great treasures is rare, but the stories make interesting reading.


One tale is told of a discovery of a huge treasure trove in a mountain cave on north Mahe. The British governor at the time wanted to take the treasure to Britain secretly and came up with a plan to involve the British Navy, who happened to be in port at the time. He circulated a story that a smallpox epidemic had broken out in the area where the treasure was and had the whole region quarantined. The Navy then went into the cave and brought back the treasure in coffins-supposedly the people who had died from smallpox. The treasure was then loaded onto the ship and safely sent back to Britain. As with all treasure stories, this tale should be taken with a large pinch of salt!

One man who made it his life's mission to search for buried treasure was Englishman Reginald Herbert Cruise-Wilkins, a former sentry at Buckingham Palace. He visited Seychelles in 1949 and was given what was supposed to be a cryptogram revealing the whereabouts of the treasure trove buried on Mahe by the French pirate Olivier le Vasseur, La Buze.

La Buze plundered the Indian Ocean during the late 18th century and it was believed part of his treasure trove included a priceless diamond cross, taken from the Bishop of Goa as he was sailing to India in a Royal Portuguese Papal vessel Le Cap de Ver. Certainly the cross and other valuable church ornaments were taken by the pirate and their whereabouts have never been officially documented. It was his cryptogram that Cruise-Wilkins believed he had in his possession and would lead him to the treasure trove of his dreams.

Cruise-Wilkins studied the cryptogram, which made references to Greek mythology. He then looked at the site which some people believed to contain the treasure and found similar symbols carved into the rocks. In anticipation, he purchased the site and began to dig. The first finds were of the bones of an ox and the skeleton of a horse, which he believed were important clues leading to the ultimate symbol of the Golden Fleece, which would contain the treasure. Later two coffins were unearthed, containing two skeletons still wearing gold earrings and a further skeleton buried without a coffin. Between 1949 and 1955 Cruise-Wilkins and his mother spent nearly $7,000 looking for the treasure, after which he decided to go to the public in search of more funds. The prospectus he wrote in 1955 is full of optimism that the treasure would soon be discovered:

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