captain kidd
Kidd at Gardiner's Island: illustration of pirate captain William Kidd's supervision of the burial of his treasure at Gardiner's Islandcreative commons

Treasure belonging to the Scottish pirate William Kidd is believed to have been discovered off the coast of Madagascar.

The bounty was found by divers off Sainte Marie island and includes a 50kg silver bar.

Captain Kidd was executed for piracy in 1701 after returning home from a voyage in the Indian Ocean. As well as piracy, he was also accused of murdering one of his crew.

The infamous pirate had to be hung three times after the first two ropes used in his execution broke.

captain kidd treasure
Captain Kidd was hung in chains on the River Thames as a warning to would-be piratesNational Maritime Museum

His body was then dipped in tar and hung by changes on the River Thames to act as a warning to anyone considering a life of piracy.

Legends say Kidd hid most of his bounty, leading to many treasure hunts over the years. He was also the inspiration for the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The treasure dates to the 17th century and journalist Martin Vogl tweeted updates about the ceremony where Madagascar's president received the alleged treasure.

It was found by underwater archaeologist Barry Clifford, who is best known for discovering the wreck of the ship Whydah – the first fully verified pirate shipwreck ever discovered.

Vogl said: "Divers just pulled this 50kg silver bar out of Sainte Marie island Madagascar. Say it could be pirate treasure.

"Team believes silver bar came from wreckage of pirate Captain Kidd's ship – one of the most famous pirates who operated out of Madagascar."

He said many people are hoping the find will raise the profile of Madagascar – for tourism in particular.