FOR NEARLY 138 years, The Republic has lain undetected in the icy depths of the Atlantic, defying treasure seekers and marine archaeologists alike.
But the mystery surrounding the location of the 19th-century steamer, which sank without a trace while carrying 200,000 gold coins, has finally been solved.
A team of private explorers believes it may have struck gold in the deep waters off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, where it located the remains of The Republic.
If the gold cargo is intact in the wreckage, it will become the most valuable treasure find in history, as the estimated value of the coins will have risen from $400,000 to $150m (pounds 100m).
It was on 18 October 1865 that The Republic steamed from New York on its way to New Orleans, carrying 59 passengers and its valuable cargo of gold coins. Only days later, a storm struck off the coast of Georgia, and the ship was overcome by hurricane winds and giant waves before sinking without a trace.
While 42 passengers survived the storm, the cargo was not so fortunate. Since then, the remains of the ship have been the target of treasure hunters and archaeologists.
Its discovery is the result of a 10-year hunt by a team of sea explorers, according to an article in The New York Times. …