Oak Island

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Oak Island
Oak Island.png
Oak Island, Nova Scotia
LocationNova Scotia, Canada
Coordinates44°30′46.9″N 64°17′17.9″W / 44.513028°N 64.288306°W / 44.513028; -64.288306 (Oak Island)Coordinates: 44°30′46.9″N 64°17′17.9″W / 44.513028°N 64.288306°W / 44.513028; -64.288306 (Oak Island)
Total islands1
Area57 ha (140 acres)
Highest elevation11 m (36 ft)
ProvinceNova Scotia

Oak Island is a 57-hectare (140-acre) privately owned island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The tree-covered island is one of about 360 small islands in Mahone Bay and rises to a maximum of 11 metres (36 feet) above sea level. The island is located 200 metres (660 feet) from shore and connected to the mainland by a causeway and gate. The island is best known for various theories about possible buried treasure or historical artifacts, and the associated exploration.

Human history[edit]

The first major indigenous people to Nova Scotia were the Mi'kmaq, who formed an Indian nation in present day Canada several thousand years ago. The area that encompasses Oak Island was known as the "Segepenegatig" region. While it is unknown when Oak Island was first discovered, the tribe had a presence in the overall area. In theory, the history of European contact on Oak Island could date to the 12th century (A.D.), based on historical artifacts that were found on the island in 2018.[3] While evidence points to the knights Templar having been on the island, this connection is not supported by "mainstream" historians.[4] The earliest confirmed European residents date back to the 1750s in the form of French fishermen, who had by this time built a few houses on the future site of the nearby village of Chester, Nova Scotia.[5] Following the Expulsion of the Acadians during the Seven Years' War, the British government of Nova Scotia enacted a series of measures to encourage settlement of the area by the European-descended New Englanders.[5] Land was made available to settlers in 1759 through the Shorham grant, and Chester was officially founded that same year.[5]

The first major group of settlers arrived in the Chester area from Massachusetts in 1761, and Oak Island was officially surveyed and divided into 32 four-acre lots in the following year. A large part of island was owned at the time by the Monro, Lynch, Seacombe and Young families whom had been granted the land in 1759. In the early days of British settlement, the Island was known locally as "Smith's Island," after an early settler of the area named Edward Smith. Cartographer Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres renamed the Island "Gloucester Isle" in 1778. Shortly thereafter, the locally used name "Oak Island" was officially adopted for the Island. Early residents included Edward Smith in the 1760s and Anthony Vaughn Sr. in the early 1770s. In 1784, the government made additional land grants, this time to former soldiers, which included parts of Oak Island.[5][6] It wasn't until July 6, 1818 that the original lot owners' names were mapped for the Nova Scotia Crown Lands office.[7]

Over the next 140 years or so, the island was owned by various treasure hunters who sought a legendary treasure buried somewhere on Oak Island (See section below). The hunt for treasure got so extensive that in 1965 a causeway was built from the western end of the island to Crandall's Point on the mainland, two hundred metres away in order to bring heavy machinery on the island.[8]

Oak Island Tours now owns 78% of the island. The remaining 22% of the island is owned by private parties. There are two permanent homes and two cottages occupied part-time on the island.[9]

The nearest community is the rural community of Western Shore which faces the island, while the nearest village is Chester .

The Oak Island mystery[edit]

There have been documented treasure hunts, investigations and excavations on Oak Island since the 1850s. There are many theories about what, if anything, might be buried or concealed there. Areas of interest on the island with regard to treasure hunters include a location known as the Money Pit, a formation of boulders called Nolan's Cross, the beach at Smith's Cove, and a triangle-shaped swamp.[10] The Money Pit area has been repeatedly excavated; critics argue that there is no treasure and that the Money Pit is a natural phenomenon.[11]

More than fifty books have been published recounting the island's history and exploring competing theories.[12] Several works of fiction have been based upon the Money Pit, including The Money Pit Mystery, Riptide, The Hand of Robin Squires, and Betrayed: The Legend of Oak Island.

In January 2014, the History Channel aired The Curse of Oak Island,[13][14] a documentary series about a group of modern treasure hunters led and funded by two brothers, Rick and Marty Lagina, who purchased the majority of Oak Island in 2006.[15]


  1. ^ "David Blankenship". History Channel. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "Dan Blankenship". www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Tanya Clark (November 28, 2018). "The Curse of Oak Island: Newly found ancient artifact could date back to 12th century". www.monstersandcritics.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Curse of Oak Island Season 4 Premiere: Going for Broke". www.mysteriesofcanada.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d DesBrisay, Mather Byles. History of the county of Lunenburg. Toronto: W. Briggs. p. 619. LCCN 01022095. OCLC 04067460.
  6. ^ Sora, Steven (1 February 1999). The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar: Solving the Oak Island Mystery. Simon and Schuster. p. 304. ISBN 0-89281-710-0.
  7. ^ DesBrisay, Mather Byles (1895). History of the county of Lunenburg (2 ed.). Toronto: William Briggs. p. 300.
  8. ^ The History Channel, Decoding the Past: The Templar Code, video documentary, November 7, 2005, written by Marcy Marzuni
  9. ^ "Explore Oak Island Display". Chester Municipal Heritage Society. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016.
  10. ^ Whipps, Heather (7 November 2005). "For Sale: Island with Mysterious Money Pit". Live Science. Purch. Retrieved 5 December 2005.
  11. ^ Nickell, Joe (March 2000). "The Secrets of Oak Island". Skeptical Inquirer. 24.2.
  12. ^ Conlin, Dan (16 October 2009). Pirates of the Atlantic: Robbery, Murder and Mayhem off the Canadian East Coast. Halifax: Formac Publishing Company Limited. p. 86. ISBN 9780887807411.
  13. ^ Kenyon, J Douglas (1 February 2016). Missing Connections: Challenging the Consensus. Atlantis Rising. p. 57. ISBN 9780990690429.
  14. ^ Joseph, Frank (12 June 2018). Power Places and the Master Builders of Antiquity: Unexplained Mysteries of the Past. Simon and Schuster. p. 63. ISBN 9781591433149.
  15. ^ Blouin, Lou (27 June 2016). "Rick and Marty Lagina: The Last Treasure Hunters". MyNorth. Prism Publications. Retrieved 28 August 2018.

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