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Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Treasure That Inspired One Piece

One Piece is the best-selling manga series of all time. Its rich story, well-rounded characters, and world-building made the series an enormous hit worldwide. One of the most mysterious aspects of the series is the existence of One Piece, a vast treasure left by one of its characters named Gol D. Roger. The search for the treasure started the Golden Age of Piracy in the in-universe storyline after the famed Gol D. Roger was executed in the fictional place of Loguetown. In the real world, there is an interesting event that is quite similar to the manga. A certain pirate named Olivier Levasseur left a clue about a treasure allegedly valued more than a billion dollars during the time of his execution. The code is named La Buse Cryptogram, and to this day, the treasure is still lying around waiting to be unearthed.

Pirate, One Piece, Treasure, Code
Image: Ancient Origins, Sodiu NMedia
Olivier Levasseur lived in the final decades of the Golden Age of Piracy. The Age of Exploration made it possible for rogue naval officers in European powers to set out and explore both the Old and New World, plundering colonies and extorting settlements for loots and even challenging trading companies and empires themselves. Olivier Levasseur is one of the most notable figures in this swashbuckling age of exploration. Being a former privateer turned pirate, he has a remarkable prowess in navigation and left destruction in his wake over the vast stretches in Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonies in Africa all the way through Brazil.

He got the most of his treasures from his exploits is the capture of the Portuguese trading ship or galleon named Virgem Do Cabo (The Virgin of the Cape). The ship was bound for Lisbon, Portugal; the Virgin of the Cape carried treasures, beyond even our wildest imagination. Different types of jewelry, religious artifacts, gold and silver coins/bars, precious gems from various territories in the Portuguese empire was looted from the ship. This is their greatest loot, along with similar raids on Dutch and British territories.

Pirate, Ship, Treasure
Image: Cajun Cutthroat

Olivier Levasseur also had a lot of allies in piracy. He will occasionally split the loot among his trusted allies and compatriots. His first ally after quitting the life of being a privateer is Benjamin Hornigold. The two crews spend a year collaborating in raids and looting, they parted ways a year after the alliance and partnered with several other pirates such as Samuel Bellamy, Howell Davis, Thomas Cocklyn, Jasper Seagar, Edward England, and John Taylor throughout his life as a pirate.

His 14-year career as a pirate ended when he was captured as Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. He was sent to the gallows at Saint-Denis, Reunion, France and during this time he revealed the existence of his treasure to the world. Before meeting his end, he exclaimed: "Find my treasure, the one who may understand it! as he threw the necklace containing the infamous La Buse Cryptogram to the crowd. The whereabouts of the necklace remains a mystery. But the 17 line cryptogram was transcribed by an unknown person and was since passed down and made to the public for centuries.

Image: Public Domain

The code embedded on the necklace became the Rosetta stone for the treasure hunters who want to unearth Olivier Levasseur's treasure. The most famed among these treasure hunters is Reginald Cruise-Wilkins or the ‘Treasure Man’, he tried to uncover the location of his Olivier Levasseur's treasure for 27 years. John Wilkins inherited his father's quest to carry his will. Olivier Levasseur's treasure will remain one of the world's most well-kept secrets waiting to be uncovered. His story might have inspired countless works of fiction involving pirates including the highly popular One Piece.

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