It was the first “worldwide” manhunt and one of the oldest unsolved mysteries of the ages: No one knew what happened to the murderous English pirate Capt. Henry Every after he led a deadly ambush in 1695 of the Ganj-i-Sawai, a royal ship owned by Indian emperor Aurangzeb. The ship was carrying worshipers returning from a pilgrimage, as well as 10s of millions of dollars’ worth of gold and silver. Historical accounts say the pirates killed the men aboard the Indian ship and raped the women before escaping to the Bahamas, a haven for pirates. Until recently, historians only knew that Every eventually sailed to Ireland in 1696, where the trail went cold.
But—shiver me timbers!—more than a dozen 1600s coins minted in Yemen and unearthed by a metal detectorist in New England tell a potentially different tale. The coins were found by amateur historian Jim Bailey and others in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Every may have escaped the manhunt by posing as a slave trader.
Bailey is keeping his finds in a safe deposit box. “For me, it’s always been about the thrill of the hunt, not about the money,” he said. “The only thing better than finding these objects is the long-lost stories behind them.”
Photo: Photo: NBCNews.com; Steven Senne / AP
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