It is said that the island was discovered after 1531 and before 1542 by navigator Johan Cabezas.
II. Period of pirates, buccaneers, and treasures
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was a refuge for pirates and buccaneers because of the abundance of fresh water, wood, fishing, and coconuts. According to the legends on the island, valuable treasures were hidden, among which those of the following captains stand out:
-Edward Davis who arrived on his ship Bachelor’s Delight in 1685.
-Bennett Graham on his ship Devonshire in 1818.
-Benito Bonito with his ship Lightning in 1820.
-Mary Dear in 1821, known as the Treasure of Lima.
III. Whale hunters period
The island served as a supply station for fresh water, wood, and firewood, and it was also a resting place for the numerous crews of whale hunters who operated especially around the Galapagos Islands. Even though this historical period is richly documented in the whale hunters logbooks, it has been scarcely studied.
IV. Period of explorers and scientists
1791: Alejandro Malespina, with his vessels Descubierta and Atrevida, which were sent by the Spanish Crown to carry out a hydrographic survey of the American Pacific.
1795: Georges Vancouver of the British Admiralty
1838: Edward Belcher on ships Sulfur and Starling
1888: The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries on the Albatross
1899: Hopkins Stanford on schooner Julia Whalen
1905: The California Academy of Sciences
1924: The expedition sponsored by the British Museum on the Saint Georges sailboat
1921-1928: Expeditions by William Vanderbilt on the yachts Eagle and Ara
1930: Vincent Astor on the yacht Nourmhal
1932: Allan Hancock on the motorized cruise ship Velero III
No definite date: scientist Alexander Agassiz
As a result of these expeditions and visits of scientists, a great amount of natural material has been collected, and countless publications on Cocos Island have been made.
The first installed colony had an ephemeral life but established agricultural activities with the respective felling of the forest.
The second was promoted by August Gissler, who was appointed Governor of Cocos Island and had a variable development in time, with the presence of German settlers. During this time, an intensive search of the treasure was carried out.
VI. Period of treasure hunters
It started in the first quarter of the 19th century and ended in 1992 with the last treasure hunt carried out by John Hodges and Leonel Pacheco on the ship Dulcinea.
To date, it is estimated that more than 300 treasure hunting expeditions have been undertaken, with no known results.
VII. Protected area open to tourism
In 1978, the Government of Costa Rica created Cocos Island National Park, which was later declared the core of the Cocos Marine Conservation Area.