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Is Outer Banks Based on a Real Treasure Hunt?

April 14, 2020
4 min read

‘Outer Banks’ follows the story of a group of teenagers who get entangled in a two-centuries-old mystery. John B’s father had dedicated his life to hunting for a famous shipwreck. However, nine months ago, he mysteriously disappeared. While everyone else believed him dead, John B had faith. He knew his father was not the kind of person who would get lost at sea. And then, something strange happens.

He soon finds himself chasing after the clues left behind by his father. The show follows him and his friends as they brave dangers at sea as well as the land. It creates an exciting tale of adventure. Did someone really embark on such a journey? Where does the inspiration for ‘Outer Banks’ come from? Here’s the answer.

Is Outer Banks Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Outer Banks’ is not based on a true story. It is a teen adventure drama created by Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, and Shannon Burke. They wanted to create a coming-of-age story with lots of adventure at its heart, but also more serious in its approach. They were inspired by classics like ‘The Goonies’ and ‘The Outsiders’ and not to forget Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’.

The idea to set the story in the Outer Banks came from Pate’s childhood. He grew up in the area, and the familiarity with the landscape allowed him to get more creative with the story. Putting a treasure hunt at the heart of it seemed only logical to him. “It’s just a weird teenage fantasy, I guess, to be let in on a mystery that you can go on with your friends,” he said. “It’s a time-honored genre that goes back to Robert Louis Stevenson.”

Was The Royal Merchant a Real Ship?

The main plot of ‘Outer Banks’ revolves around a famous shipwreck that John B’s father had been searching for his whole life. It was on the quest to find this lost treasure that he disappeared, and his son picks up the trail to finish the task in his father’s memory.

The treasure that they are looking for belongs to a ship named The Royal Merchant. According to the show, it sunk in 1829, and since then, everyone has been looking for the $400 million worth of gold that was onboard. In reality, there are several undiscovered shipwrecks with bounties that would make anyone rich beyond their dreams, but The Royal Merchant of 1829 is not one of them. It is not a real ship, which means that the trail that we follow in the show is purely out of the imagination of the writers.

However, there was The Royal Merchant, aka The Merchant Royal, aka the El Dorado of the seas, that sank in 1641. It was carrying 10,000 pounds of gold bars and 400 pounds of Mexican silver, among other things. If someone were to find it today, they would have $1.3 billion worth of treasure at their hands. It disappeared somewhere near the Land’s End in Cornwall, UK.

One of the most valuable wrecks of all time, The Royal Merchant, has attracted treasure hunters from all parts of the world, but it has also proved to be a tricky puzzle to crack. A minor advancement was made in locating it when an anchor off the coast of Cornwall was discovered by a fishing crew in 2019. Due to its size, age, and location, it was largely confirmed by the experts to have belonged to The Royal Merchant. This reignited the search for the lost treasure, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it soon came to light that a bunch of teenagers on the island were pursuing it with all their might.

Read More: Best Hidden Treasure Movies on Netflix 

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