In 1817 there was a Scotsman by the name of Roberton.
He was a pirate who worked for the Chileans in the fight against the Spanish. He
was known not only for his ghastly sight, which was of average height and
shocking red hair, he was also known for his cruel and torturous ways. A couple
of years later, a bandit known as Benavides appeared and began to stir up real
trouble. Roberton took as his prisoner a friend of the bandit and demanded to
know where Benavides was. Remembering Roberton’s reputation, the friend told him
where the bandit was hiding.
Robertson gathered up an army of men and went to
catch Benavides by surprise. While Roberton and his army were successful in
capturing all of Benavides’ men, Benavides himself escaped. Roberton first
extracted further information from these men and then proceeded to hang all
sixty of them. The information he retrieved from them before their deaths was
that they knew of gold that was buried on an island just off the coast of Chile.
The island was called Mocha. Roberton took his brother and some other faithful
followers and moved to the island. One day while they were returning from
Valdivia, they ran into trouble and all but Roberton drowned. Roberton had no
desire to live on Mocha without his men and so he joined the Peruvian Island. He
never gave another thought to the buried treasure that was never found on Mocha
While fighting against Lima, he was captured and
taken prisoner by them. They soon let him go and he returned to Peru where he
met Teresa Mendez. Teresa was a young woman of 21. She had been married once
before and had lost her first husband at sea. She was almost as wealthy as she
was beautiful and had many admirers but she really only ever paid attention to
the ones that had wealth and came from an upstanding background. Roberton was
not wealthy and his family was small and unknown. But he was desperately in love
with her and persisted in his attempts to persuade her to love him too. His
pleas were always met with a laugh until one day she told him that if he could
promise her a life of wealth and luxury, she would marry him. Nobody believed
that she would fulfill her end of the promise.
It was during the same time that the ship Peruana
was docked in the harbor. One night during a meeting between the officers,
Lieutenant Vieyra laughed and suggested that Roberton rob the ship, which held
over two million pieces of gold. Then he could take the treasure and show it to
Teresa to win her love. That same night Roberton collected a few men who were
mostly British. The Peruana did not have very good security and so it was easy
to attack the few guards and sail away with the ship and the treasure she held.
When morning came, there was no sign of either.
Roberton took his men to Tahiti. He knew however
that they could not stay for although they had many hours on their opponent,
people would come looking for them. He and two most trusted followers, George
and William, agreed. The rest of his crew did not want to leave Tahiti at first
and so Roberton also took aboard fifteen women. The men followed shortly after.
While the women may have gotten the men back onto the boat, Roberton knew that
it only gave him more people he had to get off. The treasure had always in his
mind been for him to share with Teresa. His crew and the women would have no
part of it. As he started to sail towards the Mariana Islands, he declared that
eight of the crew were trying to take over the ship. He ordered that they be
left on a deserted island as punishment and continued on to Agrihan Island.
Once on the island, Roberton began to slaughter the
women. William, who was very good with a weapon, began shooting them. After all
of the women were killed, the remaining seven members of Roberton’s crew loaded
the treasure onto rowboats and rowed safely to shore. They found a spot located
at the bottom of a cliff and began to dig a hole for their treasure. They then
placed their treasure in the hole and covered it up, leaving tree branch
markings as a sign of where it was buried. They had kept 20,000 gold pieces for
extra money along the way and locked the other members of the crew inside the
ship. Using one of the rowboats, Roberton and his crew swam to shore and
pretended to be shaken about the terrible shipwreck they had just been in. They
talked of how they were the only survivors. What they didn’t know was that their
ship hadn’t sunk before one man escaped. The other three had starved to death
and it had taken him a year to make it back but he was still alive.
From there, George left the other two to go to Rio de Janeiro. Roberton and
William continued to travel together though and wanted to go back to retrieve
the treasure they had buried. They began the travel back to Agrihan and stopped
in Hobart, Tasmania, where they met Thomson who was a sailor. They quickly
convinced Thomson to get a crew together and take the two of them north. After a
long night of drinking one evening, William told Thomson the entire story. Not
being able to remember the name of the island exactly, Thomson concurred from
his description that it must be Agrihan. Not many nights afterward, Thomson was
woken up by the sound of William’s screams. Going to check on the problem,
Thomson found him murdered. After this, Thomson knew what to expect from
Roberton and was very careful around him. However, he was simply not as strong
as Roberton and the latter pushed him overboard.
Although he was near-dead when he was rescued,
Thomson was found by a Spanish ship and taken aboard. After telling his rescuers
his story, they began to aggressively pursue Roberton. Roberton meanwhile, was
sailing to Spain so that he could seek refuge in the mountains and hide for
awhile. However, the Spanish found him and took him to Agrihan so that he could
tell them where the treasure was. But Roberton would not tell them. Instead, he
kept trying to escape.
They took him back to their ship and using other
forms of torture such as whips, demanded that he give them more information. He
finally agreed but as they were taking him back to the island to show them, he
jumped overboard, with his chains still around his feet. He quickly sank to the
bottom and never saw Teresa again. The Spanish continued for some time to find
the treasure but always came up empty-handed. It’s thought that the treasure is
still on this island today.