A Shipwreck Was Found In An African Diamond Mine, And On Board Lay A Staggering Cache Of Treasure

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Image: Dieter Noli via CNN
Image: Dieter Noli via CNN

It was a spring morning in 1533 when a fleet of grand sailing ships pulled away from Lisbon harbor, bound for the lands of the Indian Ocean. They were laden with treasure and trade goods which would be exchanged for the exotic spices of the East. One of the ships was the Bom Jesus. But nobody onboard that day knew that this vessel and her crew would never be seen in Lisbon again.

Image: Cristóvão Lopes
Image: Cristóvão Lopes

That voyage had set sail when King John III was on the Portuguese throne. He was known as “The Colonizer,” and during his rule Portugal greatly extended her colonial territories. He was noted for developing the country’s lucrative trade in spices such as pepper, cloves and nutmeg, from countries such as India.

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Image: Sebastião Lópes
Image: Sebastião Lópes

Portuguese maritime expertise made this trade possible at a time when, for Europeans, places such as India, Zanzibar and Mombasa were almost impossibly remote. The Portuguese traveled across the world thanks to their innovative navigational skills and their sturdy ships called naus, or carracks in English.

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