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September 26, 2005

Legendary Lost Incan Treasure Located on Robinson Crusoe Island

Treasure hunters claim to have discovered a legendary trove of Incan treasure, plundered by the Spanish conquistadors. The treasure trove is located on Juan Fernández Island, a few hundred miles off the coast of Chile. According to The Guardian:

"...they have found an estimated 600 barrels of gold coins and Incan jewels on the remote Pacific island."

"The biggest treasure in history has been located," said Fernando Uribe-Etxeverria, the director-lawyer for Wagner, the Chilean company leading the search. Mr Uribe-Etxeverria estimated the value of the buried treasure at $10 billion.

The treasure reportedly contains papal rings, the key to the Wall of Sorrow ("muro de los lamentos"), the necklace of the Queen of Atahualpa, an invaluable stone known as the Rose of the Winds ("Rosa de los Vientos"), and unknown Incan treasures.

The South Eastern Pacific Island was made famous by Daniel Defoe's 1719 classic Robinson Crusoe.

The Juan Fernandez Archipelago:
Juan Fernandez was looking for a better route from Callao, Peru to Valparaiso, Chile. The prevailing winds along the coast blow to the North. So, as the ships sailed to the south along the coast, they sailed into the strong South wind, which blew out their candles, making navigation impossible.

Juan Fernandez figured out that, by sailing west for 400 miles, he could escape the obstinate South winds. On one such voyage, as he sailed South, he discovered two islands on the 22nd of November, 1574. Fernandez christened the islands Santa Clara and Santa Cecilia (later Mas a Tierra, and much later Robinson Crusoe Island.)

The Juan Fernandez archipelago is actually comprised of three islands, that were named Mas a Tierra("Closer to Land"), Mas Afuera ("Farther from Land"), and Isla Santa Clara.

The archipelgo became a favorite haunt of pirates of the South Seas. It was situated in an ideal location for pirates on arduous voyages across the South Pacific. They would stop to rest and replenish on Mas a Tierra after sailing through the Straits of Magellan, or rounding the Cape.

Alexander Selkirk:
Daniel Defoe's classic book Robinson Crusoe was inspired by the real life story of Alexander Selkirk. In November of 1704, Selkirk argued with his captain and ultimately told the captain of the ship in which he was sailing, "Cinque Ports", that the vessel wasn't seaworthy and demanded to be put ashore on Mas a Tierra. He was left with only a gun, a knife, a hatchet, navigation books, a Bible and three days' rations. As the ship was leaving, he changed his mind, but they ignored his pleas and sailed without him. Not long after this, the Cinque Ports sank, killing everyone on board save 8 people who were captured and taken prisoner by the Spanish. Selkirk was marooned on the island for four years and four months, before being rescued. According to news.scotsman.com:

"...on 1 February 1709, a vessel called the Duke, captained by Woodes Rogers, visited the island and discovered Selkirk clothed in skins and unable to speak English.

In Rogers' later account of Selkirk's adventures he wrote: "A man cloth'd in goat-skins, who look'd wilder than the first owners of them [who] had so much forgot his language for want of use, that we could scarce understand him, for he seem'd to speak his words by halves." (Extended quototation here.)

Captain Woodes Rogers' "A Cruzing Voyage Round the World" was published in London in 1712, with an account of Alexander Selkirk's ordeal. William Dampier was present on the ship that dropped off Selkirk(alternately known as Selcraig) in 1704 and on the ship that picked him up in 1709. So, he probably intentionally stopped back to check up on Alexander on his third and final circumnavigation of the globe, and Selkirk probably owes Dampier his sanity, if not his life.

Recently, by coincidence, a Japanse explorer named Daisuke Takahashi claims to have discovered the hut Selkirk lived in 300 years ago.

All of this, however, has little to do with the treasure. The history of the island just makes a nice, romantic backdrop for the story of the treasure that would be buried, on the same island, 5-6 years later.

Treasure Buried on Mas a Tierra(Robinson Crusoe Island)?:
Mas a Tierra was an ideal island for pirates raiding the Spanish on the coasts of Chile and Peru. When they sailed around the cape, or through the Straights of Magellan, the pirates would always head to Mas a Tierra and replenish their ships from the island's fresh water, wild goats, and wild chickens.

Many believe that, about 300 years ago, one or more treasures were buried on the island. It's hard to say for certain, and every person seems to carry a slightly different story about who buried what when and where, and whether it's still there. So, with that in mind, here are some of the stories that I've come across so far.

General Captain Don Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria was the general of the Spanish fleet stationed at Vera Cruz, Mexico. The Spanish treasure fleets had reached their zenith between 1590 and 1600. By the 18th century, the Spanish treasure fleets were in dire straits. Spain's monopoly on trade with the West Indies was collapsing, and Spain was in a dire financial crisis.

After the War of Spanish Succession, the Bourbon Dynasty was left in control of Spain. The Spanish General Juan Ubilla and Echeverria decided to betray the Bourbon Dynasty. Ubilla reportedly took 80 wooden barrels of gold, jewels and precious stones to Mas a Tierra island in 1714 or 1715, and buried it. Predictably, there are various stories circulating as to where the treasure came from. It was either amassed over centuries by pirates or misappropriated from the Spanish crown. The treasure is alternately described as Incan or Aztec gold.

According to Breila Cruising Adventures:

"Allegedly, Ubilla absconded with over 800 bags of gold coins, gems, jewellery, gold and silver and a 2 foot high solid gold rose from the Spanish throne. This loot was part of a shipment that was to be sent from the new world to Spain."

The Santiago Times reports:

"The treasure originated in the Incan Empire and was stolen during the Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th and 17th centuries. When the treasure was en route to Spain around 1715, the navigator in charge of the ship landed on Robinson Crusoe Island and buried his cargo."

Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum claims:

"In 1715 a Spanish captain defected to Britain and ran off with a ship full of Aztec gold to Juan Fernandez Island and buried it there."

Maura Brescia claims that only pirates buried treasure on the island.

"...yes there are concrete indications that these treasures were hidden on Robinson Crusoe Island", since in the binnacle and the documentation of that trip, written by the cronista Richard Walter, stated that gold coffers, silver and jewels were buried.

Brescia's book "Selkirk Robinson:The Myth" discusses the subject of the treasures of the island in one of its chapters.
According to Brescia, they hid them because they thought they would return, but when they arrived at England in 1744, for various reasons ,they decided not to do return.

But long before that treasure was hidden, in 1686, a group of pirates, from Turtle Island in the Caribbean, commanded by Edward Davis, arrived at the coasts of Robinson Crusoe and they distributed the treasure that have accumulated over a long trip.

More than 640 crew they would have participated in this distribution of great amounts of gold and jewels. And the division of the wealth was great, so that every last sailor got more than 5 thousand pesos Castilian, at the time.

This distribution also is important, since many of the crew hid their properties in the island, because they returned to her in innumerable occasions. Although it's not certain how much people buried, if anything.

With respect to the search that Bernard Keiser makes from 1998, the historian maintains that he neither does not look for documented treasures before, but third, that would correspond to the one of a galleon of Manila, that is even possible that not even it is buried.

Brescia maintains this theory arguing that there is no a concrete text where it is indicated that the sailor of the Spanish crown, Juan Esteban Ubilla and Echeverria buried his treasures in the island. "Only in the archives of Indians one says that it traveled with them until Robinson Crusoe" but the final destiny is not sure argues.

This site expounds on the various legends of what treaure may be there.

Unfortunately, Captain General Don Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria died with his crew in the spectacular and disastrous Plate Fleet of 1715, when their treasure laden Spanish galleons were dashed against the Florida reefs in the morning of July 31st, 1715. The flotilla carried gems, gold, silver and porcelain from China, hence the name "Plate Fleet".

Before his miserable death at the hands of a brutal hurricane, however, Ubilla apparently initiated secret communications with the English, revealing the location of the buried treasure. Apparently, the communication was eventually entrusted to English pirate British Admiral Lord George Anson, and he was made aware of the location of the treasure. The treasure is referred to by various names including the "Treasure of Vera Cruz" and "Lord Anson's Treasure".

Lord Anson's Treasure:
Blupete reports:

One would be hard pressed to find a man of the royal British navy who was more decorated and honoured than George Anson(1697-1762). As a 15 year old he entered the navy, at 21 an officer and by 27 he was the captain of his own naval ship. After a spectacular round the world trip, lasting three years and nine months, Anson was made a rear-admiral, in 1744.

On June 20, 1743, Anson capture the Manila treasure galleon Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, which he encountered off Cape Espiritu Santo, making him rich for the rest of his life. When George Anson returned to Spithead, England on June 15, 1744, he paraded through the streets of London with 32 wagons filled with treasure that he liberated from the Spanish during his successful circumnavigation of the globe. In 1744, Anson was made a junior Lord of the Admiralty.

In 1761, British Admiral Lord George Anson dispatched the English sailor Cornelius Webb to recover the treasure that Ubilla buried on Mas a Tierra. According to a poor translation of The Juan Fernandez Commune, Webb arrived in Mas a Tierra in 1761 and recovered Ubilla's treasure, and set sail, however a storm split the mast of the Unicorn. Webb returned to Robinson Crusoe Island, reburied the treasure, and sailed to Valparaiso, Chile to repair his ships and then complete his mission. However, at this point, he learned the the crew planned to mutiny upon their return to Mas a Tierra, to seize the treasure for themselves. So, Webb promptly sailed from Valparaiso, and torched his ship, killing all hands at sea, and rowing himself back to Valparaiso. He was the sole survivor of the journey.

At this point, captain Cornelius Webb sent messages back to Lord George Anson, his sponsor back in England, explaining what had happened, and detailing the location of the buried treasure in code. Unfortunately, Anson died suddenly on June 6, 1762, 5 months before the arrival of Webb's envoy. These messages were presumed lost to antiquity. Then, miracuously, after 190 years, the documents resurfaced in Northern England. In 1950, a stranger contacted Chilean physician Luis Cousiño, a Crusoe Island resident, and sent him the documents.

One of the two letters that Webb had sent to Anson indicated that a third message was buried in Chile. After searching for a while, Luis Cousiño managed to find the third treasure map in the bath(beach?) of Horcón, (45 kilometers North of) Valparaiso, Chile.

In 1950, Chilean physician Luis Cousiño and the Italian Count Di Giorgio searched for the treasure on Crusoe Island, in the town of San Juan Baptist, on Powder Street, but were unsuccessful.

Changes to the Archipelago:
In 1935, the entire archipelago was set aside as a national park. In 1966, Chilean president Eduardo Frei Montalva renamed the two main islands to increase tourism. Mas a Tierra was renamed Robinson Crusoe and Mas Afuera was renamed Alejandro Selkirk, even though Selkirk never set foot on the island.

Map of Robinson Crusoe Island (formerly Mas a Tierra). Map of Isla Alejandro Selkirk (formerly Mas Afuera).

Bernard Keiser:
Bernard Keiser(or, alternately, Bernard Kaiser), of Jacksonville, Florida, and the owner of Architex International, a textile factory in Chicago, first saw the story on television. The show he watched was either the "Travel Channel" or the Search for Inca Gold, a documentary that aired on A&E network in November 1998. He decided to travel to the island and begin to search for the treasure in earnest. He arrived on Friday the 13th of November, 1998.

He promptly formed a partnership with Maria Eugenia Beéche. (Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum had married Luis Cousiño's son, and had possession of the treasure maps). Bernard Keiser has been searching with partner Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum for the treasure on the island, on and off, since November of 1998, using sensitive electromagnetic instruments and ground-penetrating radar equipment. Keiser has apparently focused his search in the Puerto Ingles (English Port) area of Robinson Crusoe Island.

The islands were formed by volcanoes and are composed primarily of volcanic rock. Keiser observed that his digs higher up quickly hit rock, so he re-focused his search in a 1.5 hectacre area down near the beach. He brought in many machines from the United States to assist with the search and excavation. In 2001, he estimated that he was spending about four million Chilean Pesos a day (about 7 U.S. Dollars) or a hundred million Chilean pesos a month (about $200 U.S. Dollars) when they were searching and excavating on the island. OK, I was fibbing on the exchange rate. It really converts to about $7,500.00 a day, or $190,000.00 a month. And, he claims he was on location searching for the treasure about six months a year.

The Red Scorpion:
Archeologist Simon Haberle indicates he visited Robinson Crusoe Island at some unspecified time and saw a group of people excavating one particular spot which looked like a red scorpion. The mound they were excavating was a volcanic feature that resembled a scorpion, and apparently one of the treasure maps in Bernard Keiser's posession indicates that the treasure is buried at the "place of the scorpion". The place that he has been recently excavating is called the "Boca del Escorpión" (Mouth of the Scorpion). "Boca del Escorpión" is located from about 200 meters of the cave of Alexander Selkirk.

Keiser has worked out agreements with Conaf, Conama, and the Council of Monuments. His work is further encumbered as it is located in the UNESCO Reserve of the Biósfera. Keiser's agreement is that he can keep 25% of the treasure and the state gets 75%, and the state will share something with the islanders.

According to the terms of his permits, Keiser's work must be made with only primitive instruments such as hand shovels, brushes, and spatulas. He asked permission to use light machinery, but was denied. Keiser recently managed to obtain a 5 year extension to continue his search.

Wagner Security and Transportation:
Civil Engineer Manuel Salinas graduated from Cologne University in Germany and then studied salt mines for ten years, and used his observations to create a robot called TR (for Tracer of Routes) with an "antiplasma reactor". Apparently, he may way collaborated with an an ex- civil employee of the Police of Investigations. He wanted to develop the robot further, and use it in the field, but needed funding. So he sought out a business partner for financial backing.

After searching for funding for 12 years, he met with Wagner Security and their manager, Gabriel Vargas, who agreed to back Salinas. Initially, they agreed to invest one hundred million Chilean Pesos (roughly 12 U.S. Dollars) and planned to create a machine to seach for land mines. (OK. That was a joke. A hundred milllion Chilean Pesos is roughly equal to $186,000.00.)

Salinas used the funds to refine his designs in the lab, building prototypes of the "antiplasma reactors", before completing construction, to his satisfaction, on December 31st of 2004, and christened the lastest rover the "TX Araña" ("TX Spider"). He then continued to tinker in the lab from January through March of 2005.

The Robot:
Although officially named "TX Araña" ("TX Spider"), the robot is frequently referred to as "Arturito". The reason for this apparently goes back to R2-D2 from Star Wars. R2-D2 sounded like "Arturito"("Little Arthur"), so "Arturito" became a generic name for robots.

In La Cuarta Salinas indicates that:

"The robot is the project more baratieri of a total of seven futurist inventions. The complete package is called 'Arcángel File'."

Salinas and his partner Gabriel Vargas are currently trying to sell it to a world power.

Salinas claims that the robot can detect metals and petroleum several meters under the earth. It has been described as "a mini robot that can scan 50 metres deep into the earth." Details on exactly how the rover functions are somewhat sketchy, hindered by translation, among other things.

The Santiago Times reports:

"The team used new robot technology that is able to scan the atomic composition of materials such as water, metals and petroleum buried up to 50 meters underground. Because the robot uses sonar to scan the ground, no digging has actually been done yet..."

The latest claims seem to be that it is beaming gamma rays into the soil.
According to OhMyNews:

European scientists have claimed that Arturito is 40 years ahead of its time since it works by scanning using atomic gamma rays.

"It scans horizontally and if the signals match the data stored in its computer, it will let us know immediately. Until now I have built six models," added Salinas.

According to the New Scientist, it is "using ground-penetrating radar. GPR, or georadar, locates subsurface objects or structures by emitting microwave-frequency electromagnetic radiation and measuring the reflected signal, which is then represented as a two or three dimensional image."

Salinas claims that the rover receives the signals that bounce back with a one square meter metallic box. The software in the computer then reportedly compares the data with the targeted biochemical and atomic patterns previously loaded.

They claim to able to program the little rover to search for specific elements. AltaVista Babelfish provides this broken, cryptic translation of a story in La Cuarta:

"To this robot atom waves are inserted to him to detect what looks for. Here the atomic gold components and silver were inserted to him and determined in three occasions a point with great amount of presence of which it looked for, we are 100 by one hundred insurances that we located the treasure".

Wagner director-attorney Fernando Uribe Echeverria described Arturito as "a metal-detecting robot that also can identify chemical compositions."

The rover was put to its first "real world" test(outside of the lab), when it was enlisted in the search for the missing body of industralist Francisco Yuraszeck. Arturito promptly found the body of industralist Francisco Yuraszeck under a cement slab in the garden of the house of his ex-partner, Francisco Leyton, in Talcarehue.

In the case of Yuraszeck, an official confirmed the participation of Arturito in finding the victim, affirming that 'it served to corroborate the site that already we had located'. After his success in corroborating the location of Yuraszeck's body, the robot was put to work searching for a cache of weapons in July of 2005. Arturito promptly discovered a weapons cache 5 meters below the Nazi Paul Schaefer's Dignity Colony ("Colonia Dignidad", also known as "Villa Baviera".

In an interview with Mouse on 12th of September, 2005, they claimed that Arturito had been in Penaflor recently, counting salt mines in the Central Ebro Basin, a region of ecogolical concern in Spain. They also indicated they'll be taking Arturito to Angola to look for land mines in the future. Interestingly, however, they made no mention of searching for the treasure on Robinson Crusoe Island.

Legendary Treasure is Located:
Then, just ten days after the interview with Mouse, they held a press conference at 10:00 on Friday September 23rd and announced that they had successfully located the legendary treasure horde on Robinson Crusoe Island.

The team of investigators from Wagner first arrived on Robinson Crusoe Island on Wednesday September 21st. They began their exploration in the Cumberland Bay section of the island. They criss-crossed the area meticulously, but found nothing. Then, they moved to the English Port sector, where Keiser, aided by the treasure maps, had focused his search. Once again, the robot returned negative results. However, when they moved to the third location, their luck changed. Eight kilometers from the town San Juan Bautista, high up in Cerro Tres Puntas (Three Peaks Hill), "the robot responded positively" The robot passed through the Cerro Tres Puntas sector three times, and it always marked the same point, indicating the presence of gold and precious stones.

The Wagner company assured that they have found not one, but three treasures on Robinson Crusoe island. One of 800 tons and two of between 30 and 50 tons each. So far, they have said that one treasure is located at Cerro Tres Puntas, but not where the other two treasures are located.

Gabriel Vargas, the head of the expedition, swears that they weren't looking for the treasure, but were looking only for volcanic rocks.

Audio of Fernando Uribe-Etxeverría, lawyer-director of "Wagner Technologies" responds to the storm of controversy that has been generated by announcing they have found the treasure. (Audio in Spanish - no transcript available. If anyone knows what he's saying, please post.)

Claims to the Treasure:
Article 626 of the Civil Code maintains that the booty must be distributed in equal parts between the state treasury and that finds it. However, a law on National Monuments and Archaeological Excavations indicates that if the objects are of archaeological nature, anthropological or paleontological they belong exclusively to the State, although whether the finder would be compensated seems to be an open question, according to Paula Quintana, the leader of National Goods in the Fifth Region.

Rodrigo Irrazabal, a Wagner lawyer says they won't reveal the location of the treasure unless the Chilean government agrees to apply Article 626 of the Civil Code, so the treasure is split 50/50 between the finders and the government.

Interestingly, Bernard Keiser's agreement appears to allow him to dig for "archaelogical and historical remains" anywhere on the island he feels like, and he gets to keep 25% of anything he finds.

According to the National Monument Law Number 17.288 of 1970, Article 25, "the material obtained in the excavations or findings made by foreign scientific missions, authorized by the Council, could be yielded by this one until in 25% to these missions, reserving themselves the Council the right to the first selection and carrying out its distribution according to it determines the regulation to it".

The locals are up in arms that the state of Chile is laying claim to the entire treasure. The locals are now demanding that they get 25% of the loot.

There are a few things about the story that I don't quite get.

  • If Keiser was there for years with ground penetrating radar and sensitive electromagnetic equipment and never found the treasure, how did Arturito find it so quickly?
  • Why announce to the world that you've found it, before you've recovered a single ingot?
  • They claim to have located the treasure on a high part of the island, where it would have been difficult to take the treasure. This doesn't jive with the story, because Webb supposedly split his mast, buried the treasure, and planned to return immediately after repairing the ship in Valparaiso. Why would he hike up into the mountains with tons of treasure if he planned to return ASAP to collect it? Wouldn't it make more sense to bury it closer to sea level?
  • As for the robot, I'm not even sure where to begin. R2-D2 has an "antiplasma reactor"? There is no such thing. I've read at various places that the robot uses sonar, radar, or gamma rays. Which is it? All of the above? None of the above? Throw in the problem of translating from Spanish to English, and it's hard to know if the technical inconsistencies are due to fraud, language barriers, or just rampant incompetence of the idiotic talking heads.
  • Why does the robot have wheels on it? Any type of platform that's sending waves into the ground should be in contact with the ground, I would think. Not 3 inches above the ground. I mean, I'm not sure what that robot is doing, but I can't imagine that being 3 inches off the ground helps things.
  • Bernard Keiser, who's searched for 7 years with three authentic treasure maps and found nothing, doubts that they've found anything. He thinks it's a publicity stunt for Wagner's robot, but I personally doubt this. They already had plenty of good publicity for their robot, and pretending to find something that they couldn't produce would actually be very bad publicity for their robot.
  • The New Scientist appears somewhat skeptical about how the miraculous robot Arturita ("Little Arthur") actually identifies sub-surface objects. They're dissecting whether the claim is that Arturita uses Ground Penetrating Radar(GPR), or magnetometry, or some combination of both. They seem to indicate that, no matter what technology you use, it's more of an art than a science to identify subterranean objects. According to the New Scientist:

    Adam Booth an expert in GPR archaeology at the University of Leeds, UK, says it would be necessary to use a low-frequency signal to search at 15 metres' depth. But this would decrease the resolution of the signal, he says. It would be "very, very difficult", to distinguish between different metals so far down, Booth told New Scientist.

    But Booth says further details could be gleaned by using other techniques in combination with GPR, such as magnetometry, which measures disturbances to the Earth's magnetic field.

  • Maura Brescia assures that the treasure would not weigh 800 tons, and dismisses claims the treasure contains any papal rings. Cerro Tres Puntas is practically inaccessible, and can only be accessed by the Carvajal Bay. Climatic conditions would prevent that any boat from arriving at that time, since the wind is very strong. Additionally, she questions the timing of the announcement, pointing out that it makes to sense to say 'here, we found it' and 'we are going to request permission to excavate shortly.'

1534 Incan King Atahuallpa executed by garrotte on June 24.
1574 Juan Fernandez, Portuguese explorer for the Spanish crown, discovers and names the Juan Fernandez archipelago off the coast of Chile.
1686 A band of Caribbean pirates from the "Isla La Tortuga"(Turtle Island) divide treasure on Mas a Tierra and some is believed to be buried there.
1701 Death of King Charles II of Spain ignites the War of Spanish Succession.
1704 Alexander Selkirk is left on Mas a Tierra with only a gun, a knife, a hatchet, navigation books, a Bible and three days' rations.
1709 Selkirk is rescued from Mas a Tierra after 4 years and 4 months alone on the island. Resumes pirating the Spanish along coast of Peru and Chile.
1711 Selkirk finally returns to England on September 22, 1711.
1712 "A Cruzing Voyage Round the World" by Captain Woodes Rogers is published in London.
1714 The Spanish General of Vera Cruz, Don Juan Esteban Ubilla y Echeverria, reportedly absconds with a hundred tons of loot and buries it on Mas a Tierra.
1714 The War of Spanish Succession is resolved with separate leaders of Spain and France.
1715 Ubilla dies when the treasure laden Plate Fleet under his command is lost in a hurricane on the Florida reefs, inadvertently helping to create the "Treasure Coast" of Florida.
1719 Daniel Defoe publishes "Robinson Crusoe", loosely based on Selkirk's experience. Since publication, it has never been out of print.
1739 England declares war on Spain on 23 October 1739.
1741 Anson reached the island of Juan Fernández in June 1741.
1743 English pirate George Anson captures the ship Nuestra Señora de Covadonga", which he encountered off Cape Espiritu Santo on 20 June 1743.
1744 English pirate Lord Anson returns to England after successfully circumnavigating the globe.
1761 English pirate Cornelius Webb arrives at Robinson Crusoe Island in the Unicorn to rescue Ubilla's treasure.
1762 Lord George Anson dies suddenly on June 6, 1762.
1773 Boston Tea Party.
1776 America declares Independence.
1780 Incans revolt against Spanish rulers.
1818 Chile declares independence from Spain.
1900 Armada Espanola, by Cesareo Fernandez Duro, is published.
1935 Juan Fernandez Archipelago is set aside as a national park.
1950 A stranger in Northern England finds the lost letters from Webb to Anson describing, in code, where Ubilla's treasure is hidden.
1966 Two of the islands are renamed to increase tourism.
1977 UNESCO declares the archipelago a "World Reservation of the Biosphere".
1998 Bernard Keiser begins searching for the lost treasure.
July 16 - Arturito corroborates location of missing industialist Luis Francisco Yuraszeck.
July 23 - Arturito locates hidden weapons cache in Colonia Dignidad.
September 23 - Without turning over a shovel of dirt, an attorney for Wagner treasure hunting group claims Arturio has located the treasure, but offers no tangible proof. Claims excavation of treasure will commence in a matter of days after requisite permits are obtained.

Luis Guastavino - Intendant of Region V. Mayor of Valparaiso, Chile.
Gastón Strap - Representative of the Corporación Nacional Forestal (Conaf) on the island.
Mario Gálvez - Regional V Director of Conaf.
Don Victorio Bertullo Mancilla - Professor and Historian and present Director of the House of the Culture of Juan Fernandez.
Bernard Keiser - A Dutch man from Jacksonville, Florida; owner of Architex International; has been searching with partner Maria Eugenia Beéche for the treasure on the island since November of 1998.
Maria Eugenia Beéche Brum - Daughter-in-law of Luis Cousiño, the recipient of the treasure maps Webb sent to Anson. Partners with Bernard Keiser.
Leopoldo González Charpentier - Mayor of the Juan Fernandez archipelgo that contains Robinson Crusoe Island.
Paula Quintana - Leader of National Goods in the Fifth Region, which has jurisdiction over Robinson Crusoe Island.
Daniel Alvarez - Regional director of the National Commission of Medio Ambiente (Conama).
Rodrigo Irrazabal
- A Wagner lawyer.
Fernando Uribe-Etxeverria - The director of Wagner, and also a lawyer.
Calos Satto - Director of tourism for the Juan Fernandez archipelago.
Sergio Bitar - Minister of Education.
Gabriel Vargas - Owner of Wagner. Head of expedition to find treasure.
Dr. Roger Vickers - Director of the Geoscience and Engineering Center at the Stanford Research Institute(SRI) that developed classified ground-penetrating radar at SRI.(Declassified in 1998).
Maura Brescia - Historian/author who lived on the island for 12 years. Wrote "Legend Seas" (1982) and "Selkirk Robinson: The Myth" (2004).

Conaf - Corporación Nacional Forestal.
Conama - Comisión Nacional del Medio Ambiente (National Comission of the Means(?) Atmosphere). This is probably like the EPA I think.
National Monument Council
Navy of Chile
UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Red Tape:

Pieces of Eight, Recovering the Riches f a Lost Spanish Treasure Fleet, by Kip Wagner as told to L.B. Taylor, Jr., E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. New York 1966.

Florida’s Golden Galleons, The Search for the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet, by Robert F. Burgess and Carl J. Clausen, Florida Classics Library, Port Salerno, Florida 1982.

Gold, Galleons, and Archaeology, by Robert F. Burgess and Carl J. Clausen, Florida Classics Library, Port Salerno, Florida 1976.

Drowned Galleons Yield Spanish Gold, by Kip Wagner, National Geographic Magazine, January 1965.

Kidd, The Search for his Treasure, By George Edmunds, The Pentland Press, 1996, ISBN: 1-85821-357-6.

Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: A Chronicle of an Incan Treasure
by Peter Lourie, University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition, August 1998, ISBN: 0803279809

Valverde's Gold: In Search of the Last Great Inca Treasure, by Mark Honigsbaum, Farrar Straus Giroux, August 2004, ISBN: 0374191700

Maura Brescia - Historian/author who lived on the island for 12 years.

"Legend Seas", by Maura Brescia, 1982.

"Selkirk Robinson:The Myth", by Maura Brescia, 2004.

Treasure Sites and Maps:

South East Florida Treasure Site Maps

Debunking Oak Island

Related Posts:
For additional photos, got to teletrece.canal13.cl and click fotos.

Related post on TreasureNet.

Related post on Gold Is Money

Reuters - Treasure Hunters Demand Part of Robot's Find

TIWY.com - Here's a May 1, 2001 story about Bernard Keiser's search for the treasure, after he'd been searching for about 2.5 years.

BBC - Gold Bars Discovered on Robinson Crusoe Island...in 1998!

Lefigaro - Gold Fever on Crusoe Island

History of the Spanish Treasure Fleets

George Edmunds's website - The Search for Captain Kidd's treasure.

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Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 26, 2005 at 12:48 PM


The treasure has reportedly been discovered by a small six wheeled Chilean robot named Arturito

Wouldn't the treasure belong to the robot?

Posted by: Robert on September 26, 2005 at 03:40 PM

Wasn't Unseaworthy? Doesn't that make it seaworthy?

Posted by: Captain Hook on September 26, 2005 at 04:47 PM

I met Bernie Keiser about three years ago. He is a bright and driven man. He told me the story of his endeavor and how he found himself drawn away from the comfortable life he enjoyed, to become a treasure hunter. I found the story to be quite compelling.

I do hope that he is correct, in his feelings that the robot has not actually found the treasure.

IMO, It would be a shame for all of the time, effort and money that he has expended, looking this trove, to go unrewarded.

Posted by: Razpootin on September 28, 2005 at 05:43 PM

Thank you to "Peenie Wallie". I just happened on this site while searching for info about the treasure find, and I'll tell ya, your article gave me more info than all the others combined. You know, you look at stuff like the Guardian and you wonder. But you've done your homework and I appreciate it. So there are no photos of the arifacts yet? No physical evidence? Is it a deal like the Loch Ness monster? What an amazing find it would be though. Kind of makes you smile and get dreamy. Barb

Posted by: Barb Stevens on September 29, 2005 at 04:44 PM

Believe me, 'Anson's treasure'will never be found on JF Island. The robot R2D2 may have found an anomaly but certainly not a (the) treasure. B Keiser was invited to talk to us (Myself and research collaborator)but declined. Time will show he made a big mistake!
Who am I? The author of 'KIDD the search for his treasure'published 1996.

Posted by: G Edmunds on October 02, 2005 at 02:02 PM

i dunno, but one of these guys should invest on the money pit on oak island nova scotia. its for sale 7M $ US.

Posted by: jason on October 03, 2005 at 08:53 AM

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