In 2016, #NaughtyDog gave gamers the gift of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the swansong of witty and wise-cracking adventurer Nathan Drake, and the shining jewel in the glittering crown that is the #Uncharted franchise. In #NathanDrake's final adventure, players seek out the lost treasure of Captain Henry Avery, on a daring and mysterious quest jam-packed with pirates, guns, and explosions. I mean, c'mon, does that sound cool or does that sound cool!?
Many would be fooled into believing that Uncharted 4's incredible story is simply a work of fiction, thought up entirely by the genius minds behind stellar titles with compelling stories such as #TheLastOfUs and other games in the Uncharted series.
But the truth is more complicated.
So avast ye salty sea dogs! Grab a tankard of Grog and prepare to shiver your timbers, because this is the swashbuckling true story behind the lost treasure of Captain Henry Avery!
From Peasant to Mariner
Records suggest that Henry Avery (also spelled 'Every') was born on August 23, 1659 near the town of Plymouth, England. Many details of this time in his life are ambiguous at best, with very few credible records actually giving an accurate picture of the early life of the future 'King of the Pirates' (and no, we don't mean he became the founder of Pirate Bay).
However, when he grew up, Avery enlisted in the Royal Navy. Good work guys, teaching Henry Avery how to sail a ship. Really great job...
Many sources state that Avery served in the Navy from 1689-1690, most likely taking part in a number of battles during the 'Nine Years' War'. He would often send money back to his family, as opposed to gambling it away or spending it on alcohol. What a great guy right? Well, this charitable behavior didn't stop his eventual discharge from the Navy, and that's where his grizzly reputation truly began to form.
Illegal Slave Trader - The Actual Worst
After his short time in the Navy, Avery started to show his darker side by moving into the slave trade. Avery illegally traded slaves for around two years, always without a 'slave trading license', as the terrible industry was heavily controlled by 'The Royal African Company', whose operations were protected by the Royal Navy along the West African Coast.
Of course, Avery was aware that trading slaves without a license was completely illegal at the time, but continued to do so due to the lucrative profits made by the industry. And Avery not only showed his evil side by simply taking part in slave trading, but also showed his deceitful nature through his actions as a slave merchant.
Avery was said to fly English colors on his ship, luring other slave traders aboard before capturing them and chaining them in the ship's hold for them to be sold as slaves with the rest of his captured victims. Though most of his slave trading life remains undocumented, it's easy to see that Avery was well on his way to becoming a merciless pirate captain.
Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me!
After his time in the slave trade, Avery became the first mate of a trading ship funded as a new venture by British investors. After a series of unfortunate events, the crew of the ship were left without pay for 6 months, leading Avery to orchestrate a mutiny in which he commandeered his very own ship. Talk about an upgrade!
Avery went on to plunder loot from a number of trading ships as he sailed the high seas, no doubt sending his unfortunate victims on a one-way trip to Davy Jones' Locker with the help of his newly-acquired ship, which he renamed The Fancy. In fact, the only real threat to Avery and his scary band of scallywags was 'The East India Company', a trading company whose fleet of ships and private army could certainly squash any pirate attack. Well, unless the attacker was Captain Jack Sparrow of course!
However, the worst was yet to come, as Avery began to plan his most daring endeavor yet, and the one which would make him the richest pirate on the face of the Earth...
A Heist On The High Seas!
Like every pirate, Avery was desperate to get his hands on all the treasure he possibly could, and the opportunity to do exactly this arose when Avery heard word that the Grand Mughal Fleet would be moving across the Arabian Sea. 25 vessels made up the fleet, but Avery's real target was the Ganj-i-sawai (known as 'The Gunsway' in Uncharted 4), a literal treasure trove filled to the brim with gold and jewels.
Accompanied by five other ships, including Captain Thomas Tew's ship Amity, Avery launched an audacious attack on the fleet. Thomas Tew was killed during the attack, but Avery's ship stayed strong, breaking the mainsail of the Ganj-i-sawai with a cannon volley before boarding the ship. Avery's crew fought for hours, but eventually secured the ship as their own and fled with the impressive haul of treasure.
The total value of the treasure Avery stole was estimated to be worth around £600,000 at the time, equivalent to over £50 million (just over $60 million) in today's currency value. He divided the spoils amongst his crew, before beginning his great escape.
Avery's heist started what may be considered the first global manhunt. England's reputation was in tatters, so the British government declared Henry Avery and his crew "enemies of the human race", offering a £500 bounty to whoever caught him. The East India Company then matched that bounty, making Avery the most wanted man on the planet.
The Lost Treasure Of Captain Avery
Avery fled to the Bahamas after the heist, but from that point, nobody knows what happened to him or the crew of The Fancy. They had just pulled off the biggest heist in history, and the world's ships were on their tails as they fled across the ocean with their enormous bounty. But what happened to Captain Avery?
Some say he returned to England after changing his name, settling in Devon with his bounty. Others say his fortune was cheated from him by merchants in Bristol, and Avery lived the rest of his life in poverty. However, these are rumors at best, and not necessarily based on reliable sources. Therefore, it's safe to say that nobody really knows what happened to Henry Avery or the fortune he had stolen from the Ganj-i-sawai.
In fact, many believe his treasure is still out there, hidden away, just waiting to be found...
So, anyone wanna go on a treasure hunt?
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What do you think happened to Captain Avery's treasure?
[Image via http://www.teambuildingincentive.com]