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Treasure Hunt: Shipwreck, Diving, and the Quest for Treasure in an Age of Heroes

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Treasure Hunt: Shipwreck, Diving, and the Quest for Treasure in an Age of Heroes Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“A remarkable book, in which a very wide spectrum of human behavior is on show---from colossal gullibility on the one hand, to extraordinary ingenuity and determination on the other.” —The Daily Telegraph (UK)

    

     Treasure Hunt is the story of an obsession. Rumors of Spanish treasure, or gold and silver at the bottom of the sea, have been a part of maritime lore for centuries. In 1687, Captain William Phips brought back to port an incredible cargo---nearly forty tons of silver and gold---the treasure of the Spanish galleon Concepción, wrecked over forty years before on a coral reef in the middle of the ocean. The unimaginable had become real, and the great treasure-hunting boom had begun.

     Soon after Phipss success, there were numerous expeditions that meant to emulate his stunning achievement. During that same time there was also a boom in the invention of crude and often very dangerous diving equipment. Many of these new projects were promoted on the infant stock market, where gambling and treasure hunting became closely connected with the birth of modern capitalism.

     By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, treasure hunting had become a professional occupation, with a new breed of diver emerging. Much of their time was spent salvaging the wrecks of English and Dutch East-Indiamen carrying treasure to ?nance business in Asia. Ever since, men have been prepared to risk life and fortune in the search for underwater riches.

     The author of numerous books of maritime history, including The Pirate Wars and The Sack of Panamá, world-renowned historian Peter Earle returns with an extraordinary and little-known history---of outstanding bravery, of exceptional recklessness, and above all, of the unquenchable lust for treasure.

Peter Earle formerly taught at the London School of Economics and is now Emeritus Reader in Economic History at the University of London. He is the author of more than a dozen books on English social and maritime history, including The Sack of Panamá and The Pirate Wars, among many others. He lives in England.

Treasure Hunt is the story of an obsession, and historian Peter Earle returns with an extraordinary and little-known history of bravery, of recklessness, and of the lust for treasure. Rumors of Spanish treasure, or gold and silver at the bottom of the sea, have been a part of maritime lore for centuries. In 1687, Captain William Phips brought back to port an incredible cargo—nearly forty tons of silver and gold—the treasure of the Spanish galleon Concepción, wrecked over forty years before on a coral reef in the middle of the ocean. The unimaginable had become real, and the great treasure-hunting boom had begun.

Soon after Phipss success, there were numerous expeditions meant to emulate his stunning achievement. During that same time there was also a boom in the invention of crude and often very dangerous diving equipment. Many of these new projects were promoted on the infant stock market, where gambling and treasure hunting became closely connected with the birth of modern capitalism.

By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, treasure hunting had become a professional occupation, with a new breed of diver emerging. Much of their time was spent salvaging the wrecks of English and Dutch East-Indiamen carrying treasure to finance business in Asia.

“Earle is both swashbuckling and serious in this marvelous survey of piracy over 230 years.”—The Oxford Times

“Fascinating . . . His scholarship is solid, and his telling of this complex story is lucid and well-paced.”—The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

“A thoroughly entertaining read that dispels a number of myths and spins many a good yarn.”—Daily Mail (UK)

“Illuminating . . . It is one of the virtues of Earles account that although he is declaredly on the side of law and order, and his overall theme is the final triumph of the maritime states . . . he is far from immune—as a more straight-laced historian might be—to the charms of the pirate life.”—The Daily Telegraph (UK)

“In this painstakingly researched volume, naval historian Earle addresses the struggle to salvage major shipwrecks from the late 17th century through the early 19th century. He focuses primarily on British expeditions, although the wrecks come from many countries, most notably Spain, which lost countless treasure ships to reefs, battles and hurricanes. Particular emphasis is placed on the dreamers who gambled fortunes to rummage the ocean floors, as well as on professional divers and their dangerous craft. For Earle, the slow transformation of wild undersea treasure hunts into a semi-reasonable business tracks the dawning of the Industrial Age and the attempt to temper risk through the new stock markets. Overall, Earle is only as good as his primary sources. Where the records are colorful, we get engaging characters and vivid detail. Where the records run dry, readers are subjected to tedious descriptions of lawsuits and patent applications. Particularly strong sections include Daniel Defoe's appearance as a luckless investor and the wreck of the Earl of Abergavenny, which drowned 260 souls, most notably Capt, John Wordsworth, the younger brother of William Wordsworth. While the book would have benefited from some trimming, it remains a fascinating overview of an occupation that continues to lure scientists, scoundrels and dreamers.”—Publishers Weekly

“British historian Earle delves into the late-17th-century surge in treasure hunting and the diving technology that accompanied it. Shipwrecks were all too common in this age of primitive navigation, when vessels frequently collided with reefs, rocks or the coast. Scavengers focused particularly on the routes traversed by riches-laden Spanish galleons as they sailed from the Americas to the mother country. British strongholds Jamaica and Bermuda were the sites of such fantastic Spanish shipwrecks as the Maravillas and the Concepci-n. The latter, reported to be carrying four million pesos worth of treasure when it sank off the Bahamas, was unearthed in a spectacular 1683 salvage by Boston sea captain William Phips (under permission of the British crown). Unearthed after only two days of searching by four divers, the find made Phips rich and famous. It sparked an epidemic of treasure fever, in particular among those hoping to find Spanish silver in the wrecks from the 1588 Armada off the coast of Ireland. Earle chronicles many of these mostly failed endeavors, including quixotic schemes by Thomas Neale, Richard Long and Collin Hunter, as well as the various attempts to repossess scattered treasure from the fleet of Spanish galleons wrecked in Vigo Bay. Among the numerous innovations in diving equipment that also fueled treasure-seeking mania in the last decade of the 17th century were the diving tub, the sea crab, the diving bell invented by astronomer Edmond Halley and the pump system fashioned by the Braithwaite family. However, Earle's focus is limited; except for brief mentions of Jules Verne's work and the recovered logbooks of William Evans, he largely ignores the rich tradition in literature and the arts sparked by treasure hunters. Thorough, but too restricted in scope to appeal to general readers.”—Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In this painstakingly researched volume, naval historian Earle addresses the struggle to salvage major shipwrecks from the late 17th century through the early 19th century. He focuses primarily on British expeditions, although the wrecks come from many countries, most notably Spain, which lost countless treasure ships to reefs, battles and hurricanes. Particular emphasis is placed on the dreamers who gambled fortunes to rummage the ocean floors, as well as on professional divers and their dangerous craft. For Earle, the slow transformation of wild undersea treasure hunts into a semireasonable business tracks the dawning of the Industrial Age and the attempt to temper risk through the new stock markets. Overall, Earle is only as good as his primary sources. Where the records are colorful, we get engaging characters and vivid detail. Where the records run dry, readers are subjected to tedious descriptions of lawsuits and patent applications. Particularly strong sections include Daniel Defoe's appearance as a luckless investor and the wreck of the Earl of Abergavenny, which drowned 260 souls, most notably Capt, John Wordsworth, the younger brother of William Wordsworth. While the book would have benefited from some trimming, it remains a fascinating overview of an occupation that continues to lure scientists, scoundrels and dreamers. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

In 1687 Captain William Phips arrived in English waters with forty tons of treasure rescued from the wreck of the Concepcin, sunk forty years before in the middle of the ocean. The great British treasure-hunting boom had begun. Over the next two centuries, many such adventures, most based on extremely dubious information, were begun. World-renowned historian Peter Earle returns with an extraordinary history of outstanding bravery, exceptional recklessness, and above all, dreams of treasure.

Peter Earle is emeritus reader in economic history at the University of London and the author of The Pirate Wars.

Synopsis:

“A remarkable book, in which a very wide spectrum of human behavior is on show---from colossal gullibility on the one hand, to extraordinary ingenuity and determination on the other.” —The Daily Telegraph (UK)

    

     Treasure Hunt is the story of an obsession. Rumors of Spanish treasure, or gold and silver at the bottom of the sea, have been a part of maritime lore for centuries. In 1687, Captain William Phips brought back to port an incredible cargo---nearly forty tons of silver and gold---the treasure of the Spanish galleon Concepción, wrecked over forty years before on a coral reef in the middle of the ocean. The unimaginable had become real, and the great treasure-hunting boom had begun.

     Soon after Phipss success, there were numerous expeditions that meant to emulate his stunning achievement. During that same time there was also a boom in the invention of crude and often very dangerous diving equipment. Many of these new projects were promoted on the infant stock market, where gambling and treasure hunting became closely connected with the birth of modern capitalism.

     By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, treasure hunting had become a professional occupation, with a new breed of diver emerging. Much of their time was spent salvaging the wrecks of English and Dutch East-Indiamen carrying treasure to ?nance business in Asia. Ever since, men have been prepared to risk life and fortune in the search for underwater riches.

     The author of numerous books of maritime history, including The Pirate Wars and The Sack of Panamá, world-renowned historian Peter Earle returns with an extraordinary and little-known history---of outstanding bravery, of exceptional recklessness, and above all, of the unquenchable lust for treasure.

About the Author

Peter Earle formerly taught at the London School of Economics and is now Emeritus Reader in Economic History at the University of London. He is the author of more than a dozen books on English social and maritime history, including The Sack of Panamá, and The Pirate Wars, among many others. He lives in England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312380397
Subtitle:
Shipwreck, Diving, and the Quest for Treasure in an Age of Heroes
Author:
Earle, Peter
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books
Subject:
HIS051000
Subject:
Maritime History
Subject:
Europe - Great Britain - General
Subject:
Expeditions & Discoveries
Subject:
History
Subject:
Explorers
Subject:
Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks
Subject:
Explorers -- History.
Subject:
Treasure troves - History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080708
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 x 1.31 in

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Related Subjects

Transportation » Nautical » Shipwrecks

Treasure Hunt: Shipwreck, Diving, and the Quest for Treasure in an Age of Heroes Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages Thomas Dunne Books - English 9780312380397 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this painstakingly researched volume, naval historian Earle addresses the struggle to salvage major shipwrecks from the late 17th century through the early 19th century. He focuses primarily on British expeditions, although the wrecks come from many countries, most notably Spain, which lost countless treasure ships to reefs, battles and hurricanes. Particular emphasis is placed on the dreamers who gambled fortunes to rummage the ocean floors, as well as on professional divers and their dangerous craft. For Earle, the slow transformation of wild undersea treasure hunts into a semireasonable business tracks the dawning of the Industrial Age and the attempt to temper risk through the new stock markets. Overall, Earle is only as good as his primary sources. Where the records are colorful, we get engaging characters and vivid detail. Where the records run dry, readers are subjected to tedious descriptions of lawsuits and patent applications. Particularly strong sections include Daniel Defoe's appearance as a luckless investor and the wreck of the Earl of Abergavenny, which drowned 260 souls, most notably Capt, John Wordsworth, the younger brother of William Wordsworth. While the book would have benefited from some trimming, it remains a fascinating overview of an occupation that continues to lure scientists, scoundrels and dreamers. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In 1687 Captain William Phips arrived in English waters with forty tons of treasure rescued from the wreck of the Concepcin, sunk forty years before in the middle of the ocean. The great British treasure-hunting boom had begun. Over the next two centuries, many such adventures, most based on extremely dubious information, were begun. World-renowned historian Peter Earle returns with an extraordinary history of outstanding bravery, exceptional recklessness, and above all, dreams of treasure.

Peter Earle is emeritus reader in economic history at the University of London and the author of The Pirate Wars.

"Synopsis" by , “A remarkable book, in which a very wide spectrum of human behavior is on show---from colossal gullibility on the one hand, to extraordinary ingenuity and determination on the other.” —The Daily Telegraph (UK)

    

     Treasure Hunt is the story of an obsession. Rumors of Spanish treasure, or gold and silver at the bottom of the sea, have been a part of maritime lore for centuries. In 1687, Captain William Phips brought back to port an incredible cargo---nearly forty tons of silver and gold---the treasure of the Spanish galleon Concepción, wrecked over forty years before on a coral reef in the middle of the ocean. The unimaginable had become real, and the great treasure-hunting boom had begun.

     Soon after Phipss success, there were numerous expeditions that meant to emulate his stunning achievement. During that same time there was also a boom in the invention of crude and often very dangerous diving equipment. Many of these new projects were promoted on the infant stock market, where gambling and treasure hunting became closely connected with the birth of modern capitalism.

     By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, treasure hunting had become a professional occupation, with a new breed of diver emerging. Much of their time was spent salvaging the wrecks of English and Dutch East-Indiamen carrying treasure to ?nance business in Asia. Ever since, men have been prepared to risk life and fortune in the search for underwater riches.

     The author of numerous books of maritime history, including The Pirate Wars and The Sack of Panamá, world-renowned historian Peter Earle returns with an extraordinary and little-known history---of outstanding bravery, of exceptional recklessness, and above all, of the unquenchable lust for treasure.

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