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The Flora de la Mar
It was the year 1503 when the Commander Alfonso de Albuquerque of the Flor de la Mar set sail from Lisbon Portugal. Followed by his fleet of twenty two ships on a mission to plunder the riches of the East Indies for the Portuguese Empire. His first conquest would be the southeast coast of Mozambique, Africa. From there he would work his way up the coast of the great continent plundering everything in his path. He then moved on to India raping and pillaging everything in his path. On his journey he made stops in Thailand and Burma sparing no one and robbing them of there riches as well until the hauls of his ships where bulging with the loot of conquest.
On August 8,1511 Alfonso's fleet anchored his armada in the Port of the ancient city of Malacca located on the Malay Peninsula. At this time Malacca was known as one of the richest cities in the world. Its harbor was filled with ships from all ports of the ancient world trading valuable goods of all kinds. From shining jewels to exotic animals to gold bullion everything was up for trade in the Port of Malacca back in 1511. And that is why Alfonso de Albuquerque and his army decided to lay siege to the city it would be the greatest prize of there bloody conquest.
After twelve days of bloody battle thousands of people lye slaughtered in the streets under the blades of the Alfonso's army, the city at his feet in ruin. The Malays surrounded and Alfonso claimed the city as part of the Portuguese empire and it would remain in Portuguese control until 1641. Until such time as it would be recaptured by the Dutch.
The amount of treasure that was accumulated by Alfonso's army was staggering. He accumulated over sixty tons in gold booty melted into all kinds of forms animals, furniture, bullion everything you can imagine. This treasure came from the House of the Sultan of Malacca alone. He also accumulated 200 gem filled chests full of diamonds, rubies and emeralds. The treasure he looted would be worth billions of dollars on today's markets. Alfonso then place most of this treasure on the Flora del la Mar. The other treasure was packed on three of his other vessels along with the other loot from his eight year conquest.
In late December of 1511, Alfonso was convinced that the colony he had established was now flushing and decided to set sail for Portugal. When he did he left with four ships all bulging under the weight of there treasure laden cargos. He ordered the remaining ships of his fleet to stay behind to guard the city of Malacca. The Flora del la Mar was fated never to see the Ports of Portugal ever again.
As Alfonso made his way out into the sea. His small treasure fleet was overcome by a storm which took two of his treasure ships to the bottom of the ocean with none of the crew surviving. As for the Flora del la Mar it struck a reef just of the northeastern tip of the island of Sumatra near the entrance to the the straights of Malacca. Alfonso was able to jump into one of the lifeboats along with five of his officers. Most of the other sailors on the ship went to a watery grave. Alfonso promised those where still alive as he sailed away that he would return with help but that would not be the case. He was picked up by the only remaining ship of his fleet and instead of returning for the survivors of his crew. He set sail with his remaining treasure for Portugal leaving the Flora de la Mar to flounder on the reef. It was eventually bashed to pieces by the pounding waves. Three of the floundering crew managed to survive and swim to shore.
When local divers and fisherman got word of the sinking they waited for the storm to pass and headed back out to the wreck site. But they where to late there was nothing left of the ship or her crew. They where able to salvage some small pieces of the cargo that was in the shallower waters on the reef but by the time they arrived the haul of the wrecked vessel containing most of the precious cargo had fallen off the reef into 120 feet of water where it would sit for the rest of time.
As for Alfonso he made his way back to Portugal with his remaining loot and the wreck of the Flora de la mar was forgotten. One of the officers who got off the wreck with Alfonso was said to have made a chart of the wrecks location. Years later the chart was found by treasure hunter Robert Marx back in the 1960s but that is different story. The wreck of the Flora De la mar as far as I know is still resting where it went down waiting for the day when some lucky treasure hunter will bring its billion dollar cargo back into the light of day.
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