The Legendary Jose Gaspar - Gasparilla, The Pirate
Jose Gaspar was a Spanish pirate that prowled the waters of Tampa Bay, Florida. One of the more successful pirates, Gaspar is credited with capturing over 400 ships from 1789 to 1821. Adopting the nickname Gasparilla, he buried treasure in numerous places throughout the west coast of Florida.
Known as the "Last Buccaneer", Gasparilla was planning on retiring from a life of piracy. Ironically, on the day he was dividing his treasure among his crew. he spied a fat British merchant ship passing offshore. Gaspar couldn't resist one last plunder and gave chase. Unfortunately, the merchant ship was really the disguised USS Enterprise - a U.S. Navy warship on a pirate-hunting mission.
Jose Gaspar pulled in close to the ship before realizing, too late, that it was a trap. A spirited battle between pirate and pirate-hunter ensued. Gaspar's ship caught fire and was about to be boarded. Rather than give up and be hanged for piracy, Gasparilla wrapped a heavy chain around his waist and jumped off the bow of his ship.
While Gaspar disappeared beneath the waves, he was not forgotten, nor was his treasure. Gaspar had left it on shore with some of his trusted crew as he went to attack what he though was the merchant ship.
After the battle, the crew that remained onshore took the treasure inland and buried it in different places along the coast. None of Jose Gaspar's treasure has ever been recovered.
For over one hundred years, Tampa Bay has celebrated the memory of Jose Gaspar with a massive parade and festival called the Gasparilla Pirate Fest or Gasparillafest. Over half a million people attend annually. The world's only fully-rigged pirate ship, the "Jose Gasparilla", sails up into Tampa Bay accompanied by hundred of small boats. The ship is loaded with pirates, firing cannons, intent on capturing the city.
Each year, the city surrenders and the pirates take to the streets and lead a huge parade with over 120 krewes and their floats winding through downtown Tampa.
Now a reincarnation of Jose Gaspar and his crew have returned and continue to hide more treasure in the Tampa Bay area. Finally, you have the opportunity to find some of his treasure for yourself...