The new Netflix docudrama explores the stories of several real-life pirates who sailed the seas during the Golden Age of Piracy. The six-part series combines scripted scenes and expert interviews to paint a picture of the major players who plundered ships throughout the southeastern US coast and the Caribbean in the 18th century. The first episode of the Lost Pirate Kingdom starts in 1715, after the War of Spanish Succession, and recalls how a Spanish treasure fleet was lost in a hurricane and its treasure plundered by pirates.
Incredibly, 300 years later treasure hunter Brent Brisben discovered $4.5million (£3.25million) in gold coins off the coast of Florida that came from the 1715 Fleet shipwreck.
He described the 2015 find of 350 coins as “magical” and “surreal,” but it was just a small fraction of what was on board.
Narrator Derek Jacobi explained during the series: “The most valuable flotilla in history leaves Havana for Spain.
“The so-called Plate Fleet is laden with gold and silver, mined in Spanish colonies in South America.
“War and weather prevent the fleet from sailing for over a decade, but now Spain needs the money.”
Author George Choundas explained why Spain – almost bankrupt after the war – took the risk of sending 12 packed treasure ships across treacherous waters.
He said: “Spain relied on this fleet for hard currency, for treasure, for revenue.
“It was the most obvious way for Spain to sure up its adventurism around-the-world, but also its maintenance and its operations at home.
“That treasure aboard those 11 ships constituted about 14 million pesos, which is hundreds of millions in current currency.”
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“If you don’t get your rigging down in time, your mast will snap.”
According to Cuban records, around 1,500 sailors perished while a small number survived on lifeboats.
As 11 of the ships hit the seabed, they scattered a fortune in gold and silver just off Vero Beach in Florida.
The series then goes on to tell the story of how many ships, including pirates, took part in the initial salvage.
Initially, a privateer, Henry Jennings, was first accused of piracy for attacking such salvage ships and claiming their salvages.
Over the centuries, many probed the ocean bed in the hope of making a breakthrough.