SS Central America – The Sunk Ship of Gold

SS Central America - The Sunk Ship of Gold

We would have heard about San Francisco. In 1847, The Population was 500. In 1852 within 5 years the Population jumped to 1.5 Lakh People. Behind this increase in Population, there is a mystery. 

What is the reason for the creation of the California State?

Can you believe the reason was gold?

There was a Civil war in America. This Civil war happened because of Gold. 

Till Today they are looking for the wealthiest ship which sank. 

Let's discuss this more in detail. 

This is an unsolved Mystery. 

In History, it is well known that Many empires and Kingdoms have fallen because of Gold. 

When did they discover gold in California?

It was found accidentally. On 24th Jan 1848, James Marshal Carpenter arrived at John Sutter. The owner of this establishment was Johann. A Sutter. Wood has been processed in his establishment. They needed a modification in the establishment and they have called James Marshal. There was a water stream near the Plant. James came near the Water stream and noticed that there was something in Yellow Colour In the stream. He takes the object and inspects it. Then He confirmed that it was Gold. Marshal informs John Sutter about the gold. The Workers have also heard it. John Sutter called his workers. He tells them that if the workers tell the truth then the government will take control of the place. He Requests his workers to keep it a secret. But this news spreads like Wildfire.

SS Central America - The Sunk Ship of Gold

People started to flock to the place in search of Gold. It seems that Gold was scattered everywhere. Many Tunnels were dug up. The River beds were searched. From 1848-50 nearly 3 Lakh People came to the place. This is called California’s Gold Rush. In History an important event is the Gold Rush. 

This news was published in the Baltimore Sun. Many People from other countries started to come to America. They need to provide food so Agriculture started to improve. The Food required for the Population was ready now. People needed clothes so many Companies came to the region. When the gold was taken people started to become rich. They needed Banks so Private Banks were started. SO the City grew fast and big. This was the reason California in the 1850s became a state. If the Gold Rush hasn't happened California will not be a state. 

So many Sectors came to the region. The Value of land grew fast. The Indigenous people were sent away from their lands. The Chinese came and took the gold back to their country. The California Govt now said that the workers have to pay tax. 

In 1850-51 the Gold started to dwindle. Now the real issue started for California and America. America believed in the Gold Rush. But the Rush ended within 4 years. The Bankers in Newyork stopped lending money. Ohio Life said that due to the low amount of gold they have stopped lending money. The Investors of California started to get scared. So the Investors started to take back their money to their countries. The People who were debited to the New York Bank were unable to pay their money. The New York banks wanted the gold reserve for the debts. The Gold Rush started in 1849 and ended in 1855. On 20th Aug 1857, many tons of gold were taken to a big ship. Nearly 420 Rich people and workers were on the ship. SS Sonora left from San Francisco to Panama City. Now the ship has reached Panama City and it has to travel past Isthmus. The gold was now transferred to a train with the passengers. Now they have to reach New York City through the Sea route. For this, they used the ship called SS Central America.

SS Central America was a Stream Wheel Ship. The Rich people and the workers all embark on the ship. The gold was nearly 3 Tons. There were Gold Coins and ornaments. The SS Central America’s Captain was William Lewis Herndon. The Captain knew that the ship's voyage would be met with the Category 2 storm. There was a lot of pressure from New York so the captain started the ship's voyage on 9th Sept. So sept 9,10 and 11 three days the ship was sailing in the sea. On 11th Sept 1857, a storm hit the ship. The Ship was damaged due to the storms. Water started to enter the ship. Captain William ordered all the people aboard the ship to work on the ship. When the people were pouring the water from the ship. Another storm hits the ship. The Ship was going to break into two. The captain ordered the passengers to move to one side of the ship to balance the weight. When the People stood on one side the other side was filled with water. The Captain knew that he couldn't save the ship. He asked the Women and Children to board the Lifeboats. The Lifeboats can only contain 120 people. The Captain ordered no luggage in the Lifeboats. The Women took the gold and hid them beneath their clothes. 

The Time was 8.00 PM. The Ship sank to 8000 Feet. Nearly 400 people died. 100 to 160 people survived the accident. 

SS Central America - The Sunk Ship of Gold

The escaped people give the information. Another ship was sent to retrieve the gold. But the sunk ship cannot be found. To pay the debts this gold was taken back to New York. New York announced that the Economic crisis has hit the country. Many companies declare Bankruptcy. In 1857 the ship sank and in 1861 the Civil War started. 

Many Investors took back their money.  Now America got the idea of printing money. There was no gold to trade so they used paper money. There was no correct information about the Sunk ship. 

In 1988 nearly 100 to 150 after the accident, Tommy Gregory Thompson using the Bayesian Search Theory collected the complete details of the Ship. He shared the information with many investors. He was funded by 120 Investors to find the Sunk Ship.  So Thompson had the funds and Information and started his search for the ship. 

Thompson finds the sunk Ship. He discovered that the Ship is below 7000 Feet. He managed to retrieve only a small part of the gold. More than 6000 Gold Coins, Gold bars, Statues and Ornaments. The Retrieved Gold was only 5% of the total gold lost in the sea. The 5% gold value was 100 to 150 Million USD. For three years they dug out part of the ship. After the Gold was retrieved, nearly 80 to 87 Insurance companies claimed that the gold belonged to them. 

From 1991 to 1996 the Gold didn't have any owners. The Court ordered that 92% of the Gold will belong to Thompson and the Investors. 

Until 2005 the investors didn't get any money as Thompson had sold the Gold for nearly 50 Million USD. In 2005 the Investors filed a case against Thompson. In 2012 the Court ordered the arrest warrant for Thompson. From 2012 to 2015 Thompson Disappeared. In 2015 Thompson was arrested.

SS Central America - The Sunk Ship of Gold

The Only question asked to Thompson was

Where is the gold?

Thompson has refused to reveal the details. From 2015 to 2021 he has been in jail. The Court ordered a Daily fine of 1000 USD until Thompson Reveals the location. But Thompson refuses to reveal the location of the gold. 

In 2014 another team discovered a small amount of gold. Thompson knows the location of the remaining 95% of the Gold. 

What will Thompson do?

This is an Unsolved Mystery. 

Thompson says that after leaving jail, he will go after the treasure. 

Can Thompson find the remaining treasure?

Will Thompson spend his entire life in Jail?

Will some other person search for this treasure?

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