The Missing Treasure Of The Flor de la Mar
Flor do Mar or Flor de la Mar, which means The Flower of the Sea, was an early 16th century vessel which ran voyages for nine years, from 1502 – 1511, when it eventually sank somewhere off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. It is theorized that it sank at the norther end of the Strait of Malacca when it got caught in a storm on its voyage back to Portugal.
Its completion was in 1502. It was the largest carrack of its day, and was said to be one of the most stunning. During its service, the 400 ton ship made its maiden voyage by sailing from Lisbon, Portugal to India. During which time, it was under the command of Estêvão da Gama, returning back the following year, heavily loaded with Indian spices. The ship undertook another voyage to India in 1505 under the command of João da Nova, but on its return it had to stop for repairs in Mozambique, East Africa for almost a year before returning to Portugal.
The Flor de la Mar was not only for trade, but it was used in numerous battles including the Portuguese conquest of Ormuz, the battle of Diu, and the conquest of Goa. In 1511, Portuguese ships, including the Flor de la Mar, began a voyage of conquest to the Sultanate of Malacca, whose capital was one of the richest cities in the world at the time.
When setting back to Lisbon, loaded with the treasures of Malacca, the Flor de la Mar was also said to be carrying a large amount of treasure from the King of Siam to the Portuguese king, as well as all of de Albuquerque’s personal fortune. Unfortunately, the ship never made it back and the largest treasure ever acquired by the Portuguese Navy was lost at sea. The Flower of the Sea left Malacca in Nov 1511 and is said to have sank within a month of setting sail.
According to a report at the time, it was caught in a violent storm off the coast of Sumatra and whilst attempting to reach the coast, it crashed onto a beach. As a result, the ship broke in two and the back was destroyed by aggressive waves from the sea. Along with the back of the ship, the treasure was also lost, however, another report claimed that the majority of the treasure was recovered by the survivors.
Whether the treasure was recovered, there is definitely some out there. Alternatively, the entire hoard is lost at sea, more than likely near the coast of Sumatra. Will it ever be found? That’s up to the daring prospectors who want to scour the area and tackle the ocean and mother nature.