One night over lots of Hemingway’s Whiskeys I asked Bill Murray why he’d chosen to champion theCHIVE for so long?
Payment said theCHIVE reminded him with this last great pirate ship using the net.
Once again, Billy nails a description.
Last week, theCHIVE landed in the birthplace of Sunken Treasure and Pirates, Key Seems to. The Keys have been the second space of theCHIVE for a long time. And there’s a good reason for all that, there’s just about something so utterly fascinating to your Southernmost Point. It sits toward the point of intersection between the Customary and New World. And it’s any helluva’ party.
The origin story of Key West, aka The Conch Republic, finds its roots in a world-class stunt. In 1982 the US Border Patrol set up road blocks to the only two roads connecting Key West to the mainland. Vehicles were stopped and searched for narcotics and their tourist lifeline was cut off.
To protest the illegal roadblock, Mayor Dennis Wardlow declared Key West’s Independence on April 23, 1982. The Mayor was proclaimed the Prime Minister of the Republic and its people (known locally as “Conchs”), to be a free sovereign nation. At which time Mayor Dennis declared war against the United States, symbolically breaking a loaf of stale bread over the head of a man in a Naval Uniform.
The stunt got so much press worldwide that the government immediately backed down and removed the road block. The Department of Defense issued an apology the next day, saying they “In no way meant to challenge or impugn the sovereignty of the Conch Republic”, and submitted to a surrender ceremony on September 22.”
The history of sunken treasure in the Keys is equally intriguing. No story is more fascinating than the sinking of the Spanish Gallion, the Atocha.
The 1622 Fleet from Spain consisted of 28 ships all carrying gold, silver, and jewels from the new World back to Spain. The 4,200 mile round trip would carry the Atocha past the Yucatan Peninsula, home of the Mayan’s and all that gold. (That video later this evening on theCHIVE.)
The Atocha was weighed down with a treasure so immense it took an additional 6 weeks to register the $400 Million worth of gold, silver, and jewels. The delay proved deadly.
On September 6, 1622, only two days into the voyage, a Hurricane drove the Atocha onto the coral reefs of the Dry Tortugas, just 35 miles west of Key West. Heavily laden with treasure, the vessel sank quickly into 55 feet of water. Just one month later another hurricane hit the same place, scattering the the sunken remains across the Caribbean.
For 40 years, Spain searched for the treasure of the Atocha. It was never found. The economic impact of losing the Gallion nearly crippled its economy.
Four Hundred years later in 1969, Mel Fisher began his legendary search for the Atocha. It was a sixteen year adventure of financial hardship, tragic loss, and triumph.
Mel’s oldest son Dirk, his wife Angel, died after their boat sank due to bilge pump failure during their quest for treasure.
In 1973 Mel discovered just a few silver bars from the wreck. He assumed he was close. However, it would be another twelve years until he finally discovered the “Motherload of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha.” Over 40 tons of gold silver as well as enough Columbian emeralds to buy a small country.
To this day, the Atchocha is the most valuable shipwreck ever recovered. Mel was awarded 75% of the cargo’s value by the US Supreme Court.
And now you know why theCHIVE made the Bill Murray “ Island Mint” coin.
The details in these coins are stunning. On the heads is minted criss-crossed palm trees. As you all know you have just enough time to
score this investment. And these will deliver by Christmas. Solid gold and silver get you into theCHIVE HQ for life and all the free beer that comes along with that. Additionally, the Island Mint coin gives you access to next year’s Gold and Silver Dinner with me at the Capital Grille. (Date circa mid-October).
And on the back, the world famous Conch Republic. We’ll never make these coins again. The Copper is already SOLD OUT and silver isn’t far behind. So be quick about the mouse, me hearties, this ultra-rare coin will disappear into Davey Jones locker in no time!
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