The life of William Phips, a poorly educated colonial American with a background as a shepherd, carpenter and trader, was changed dramatically in 1687. What happened?

Answer: Having become a treasure hunter, Phips stumbled on a wrecked Spanish ship off the Bahamas Islands, from which he recovered £300,000. The value of this today would be conservatively £45 million. This gained him a knighthood and the appointment as provost-marshall of New England. Five years later, in 1692, he would become governor of Massachusetts.

Source: The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Biography by David Crystal

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