The Legend of Zingaro


In 1783, Jose Gaspar was a Lieutenant in the Spanish Navy.  During a fierce battle, he was injured and thrown from his ship by a direct hit from cannon fire.  Holding on to pieces of his wrenched naval ship, he floated for what seemed like days.  Gaspar was saved by a group who called themselves “The Gypsy Krewe of Zingaro”.  Having saved his life, Gaspar befriended this band of gypsies; a friendship that would last some thirty years during a bloody career of piracy. 


Gaspar trusted no one with his secrets except his partners:  The Gypsy Krewe of  Zingaro.  The members of the Gypsy Krewe were the only ones who knew of the secret island where his vast fortune from his year of plundering and looting was hidden.  That secret island is now known as Gasparilla Island but the exact location of all the treasure remains a mystery to this day. 


After thirty years, Gaspar decided to retire and spend his last years in South America.  He sent his trusted Gypsy Krewe of Zingaro off to collect the treasure for the trip.  Off in the distance, Gaspar saw one last conquest:  a merchant ship lying off the horizon.  Leaving his trusted Zingaros to collect the treasure, Gaspar and his band of pirates went off for one more bounty.  However, this ship was not a merchant ship but a US Naval ship that was waiting for Gaspar.  Gaspar was taken by surprise.  His ship was destroyed and rather than be taken captive, he tied an anchor chain around his legs and jumped overboard to his death. 


Through the years of storytelling, the exact location of Gaspar’s fortune has been passed from generation to generation of Gypsies.  The secret location is still a closely guarded one.


To this day, the trusted members of the Krewe of Zingaro are the only ones who know the location of Gaspar’s treasure.  Once a year, the Krewe of Zingaro returns to Gasparilla Island and collects a small amount of the vast treasure and gives it back to the people of Tampa.