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Elizabeth Swann's gold medallion

Aztec Empire


Prior to 1519[1]


Hernán Cortés
Bootstrap Bill Turner
Will Turner
Elizabeth Swann


Treasure of Cortés
Curse of the Aztec Gold

First appearance

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Last appearance

The Legend of Jack Sparrow


As with Isla de Muerta, it was claimed by the sea.

"You don't know what this is, do you?"
"It's a pirate medallion."
"This is Aztec gold. One of 882 identical pieces they delivered in a stone chest to Cortés himself. Blood money paid to stem the slaughter he wreaked upon them with his armies. But the greed of Cortés was insatiable. So the heathen gods placed upon the gold...a terrible curse. Any mortal that removes but a single piece from that stone chest shall be punished for eternity.
Hector Barbossa and Elizabeth Swann[src]

This gold medallion was one of the 882 identical pieces of Aztec gold that laid upon the cursed Treasure of Cortés. Of an ancient design, the medallion had an ominous skull at the center of it. After being cursed, the crew of the Black Pearl led a desperate search for all the scattered pieces of the gold, including this particular medallion. During the crew's quest, this medallion would come into the possession of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.


Legend of the Treasure of Cortés[]

"Where did you get that?"
Jack Sparrow to Elizabeth Swann[src]

The Aztec gold medallion.

The medallion was one of the 882 identical pieces of Aztec gold delivered in a stone chest to Hernán Cortés by the Aztecs as "blood money paid to stem the slaughter he wreaked upon them with his armies." But instead of satisfying Cortés, it merely fueled his greed. In response, the heathen gods placed a curse upon the gold: any mortal who removed a piece of the gold from the chest would be punished for eternity. The only way to lift the curse was to return all the Aztec gold pieces to the chest and pay the heathen gods back in blood. Ultimately, the treasure of Cortés would end up in the caves of Isla de Muerta.[2]

Blood of the Aztec Curse[]

William Turner's medallion[]

"Never sat well with 'Bootstrap', what we did to Jack Sparrow. The mutiny and all. He said it wasn't right with the Code. That's why he sent off a piece of the treasure to you, as it were. He said we deserved to be cursed...and remain cursed."
Pintel to Will Turner[src]

After finding the treasure, Captain Hector Barbossa and his crew stole all 882 pieces of the Aztec gold, an act which the crew would later regret. The crew would then spend all Aztec gold pieces on drink, food, and pleasurable company. Soon afterwards, the crew realized that they fell under the Aztec curse. After figuring out that it was the Aztec gold pieces that placed the curse upon them, Barbossa's crew returned to Isla de Muerta to find a way to lift the curse and end their punishment. There, they found out that the curse could be reversed only when every last piece of the Aztec gold was returned to the stone chest from which it came.[2]

Over the next decade, the now-cursed crew attempted to reclaim all 882 pieces of the Aztec gold, in order to lift their curse. Bootstrap Bill Turner, on the other hand, did not join this desperate search, instead sending his piece of the treasure to his only child, Will Turner, saying that they deserved to remain cursed. In response, Barbossa had Bootstrap tied to a cannon thrown overboard, eternally drowning but unable to die because of the Aztec curse. Not until after Bootstrap was thrown overboard did the crew learn of an additional requirement to lift the curse: all who stole a coin from the chest had to pay the heathen gods in blood, which now seemed impossible with Bootstrap lost to them. However, a chance of salvation lied in Bootstrap's child, who had both his blood and his coin.[2]

And so, with their slight ray of hope of lifting their curse, the cursed crew hunted down all the scattered pieces of the Aztec gold. The crew had at least one chance to retrieve Bootstrap Bill's medallion on the crossing of England, where in which the Black Pearl destroyed a merchant vessel that carried young Turner's child.[2]

Search for the Medallion[]
"Me holds are bursting with swag. That bit of shine matters to us? Why?"
"It's what you've been searching for. I recognize this ship. I saw it eight years ago on the crossing from England."
"Did you, now?
Hector Barbossa and Elizabeth Swann[src]

Throughout his childhood, Will Turner believed his father was a respectable merchant seaman. When sent this Aztec medallion, Will thought it was just an exotic trinket that his father had picked up on his travels. Will's father had attached a chain to the medallion so Will could wear it around his neck.[3] When young Will Turner sailed aboard a merchant vessel, looking for his father, the ship was attacked by the Black Pearl. Drawn by Will's medallion, the crew left a burning wreck in their wake, though were unable to recover the gold because Will, along with his piece of gold, had drifted away from the wreck on a piece of the shipwreck.[2]

Elizabeth Swann's medallion[]

Obtaining the medallion[]
"I thought I'd lost it the day they rescued me. It was a gift from my father. He sent it to me. Why did you take it?"
"Because I was afraid that you were a pirate. That would have been awful.
Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann[src]

Elizabeth Swann taking the medallion from Will Turner.

During a foggy day, the unconscious Will Turner would be discovered by a young Elizabeth Swann and saved by the crew of the HMS Dauntless. As the Dauntless crew inspected the burning vessel, Elizabeth Swann saw the gold medallion worn around Will Turner's neck. Seeing the ominous skull, she believed the trinket to be a pirate medallion. Elizabeth then secretly took the medallion away from him, believing that if it were discovered he would be treated as a pirate and be killed. As she looked at the medallion, Elizabeth would see the Black Pearl, flying a flag which also had a skull, sailing away from the Dauntless.[2]

Elizabeth wearing the medallion.

Eight years later, Elizabeth Swann would still keep the medallion in her possession. However, she appeared to have left it in a hidden drawer for some time as it had gathered dust. She wore the medallion when attending the ceremony of Captain James Norrington's promotion as commodore at Fort Charles at Port Royal, while wearing a dress that was given to her by her father Governor Swann. The dress included a corset, that was far too tight for her, which caused her to faint where she toppled over the battlements. Plunging into the water far below, narrowly missing the rocks, Elizabeth sank into the sea bed before being saved by Captain Jack Sparrow. Unbeknownst to her, the medallion caused a ripple, confusing Mullroy and Murtogg who were on shore. Bringing Elizabeth up to the dock, Jack Sparrow noticed the medallion and asked her about it. But before he could learn more, a series of events occurred that led to Jack being arrested and sent to Fort Charles prison, while Elizabeth went back to her father's mansion.[2]

Attack on Port Royal[]
"You've got something of ours, and it calls to us...The gold calls to us."
Pintel to Elizabeth Swann[src]

Unfortunately for Elizabeth, the ripple made by the medallion served as a call that was sent to the crew of the Black Pearl, who then knew immediately where to find the medallion. The Black Pearl laid siege in an attack on Port Royal, looking for the medallion. Elizabeth was chased through the mansion by Pintel and Ragetti. Fortunately, she was able to request parley before they could harm her, but was taken aboard the Pearl to meet with Captain Hector Barbossa.[2]

Jack the monkey holding the medallion.

Believing the pirates would hold her for ransom if they knew she was the Governor's daughter, Elizabeth introduced herself as a maid named "Elizabeth Turner". However, this made every member of Barbossa's crew believe her to be the daughter of Bootstrap Bill Turner, whose blood they need. While Elizabeth gave the medallion to Barbossa in exchange for the crew leaving Port Royal, she was forced to stay aboard the Black Pearl. During the voyage, Elizabeth and Barbossa were dining in the captain's quarters. It was here that Barbossa, holding the medallion, relayed the tales of Hernán Cortés and the cursed Aztec gold. Elizabeth refused to believe the "ghost story" until forced to see the effects of the cursed crew during the moonlight, including Barbossa's monkey Jack. Horrified by this sight, Elizabeth spent the night cowering in the captain's quarters.[2]

Lifting the curse[]

First attempt[]
"Here it is! The cursed treasure of Cortés himself. Every last piece that went astray, we have returned. Save for this."
Hector Barbossa to his crew[src]

The blood ritual being performed.

Upon arriving to the treasure-filled caves of Isla de Muerta, the crew of the Black Pearl prepared to perform the blood ritual, with Elizabeth Swann being their blood sacrifice. Though Elizabeth thought they were going to kill her, Hector Barbossa simply cut the palm of her hand for blood, saying "Waste not." But, after the ritual was performed, the entire crew didn't feel any different and realized that Elizabeth was not the child of Bootstrap Bill. The crew then began to argue amongst themselves on their unsuccessful attempt to lift the curse, while Elizabeth escaped the island to the Interceptor with the help of Will Turner. By the time Barbossa realized that Elizabeth was gone and had taken the medallion, it was too late. With the help of Jack Sparrow, the Black Pearl was able to catch up with the Interceptor in their attempt to retrieve the medallion.[2]

Retrieving the medallion[]
"We need us a devil's dowry."
"We'll give them her."
"She's not what they're after."
"...The medallion.
Joshamee Gibbs, Anamaria, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann[src]

Elizabeth giving Will back the medallion.

While the Interceptor sailed through the seas, Will Turner was tending to Elizabeth's wound given by Barbossa during the ritual. It was at that moment that Elizabeth gave Will the medallion, revealing the truth that she took it from him after years of Will having thought that he lost it. Although Will was upset that Elizabeth stole his father's gift from him, he was more upset over the fact that his father was a pirate after years of believing he was a merchant sailor his whole life. Elizabeth left as Will had a time to himself with the medallion.[2]

Barbossa after having retrieved the medallion.

The Interceptor was then pursued by the Black Pearl, leading into a battle between the ships. It wasn't until Barbossa's crew prepared to board that it was realized that the medallion was what the cursed crew was after. Will ran to the cabin where he left the medallion and searched for the medallion. He would end up getting trapped within the Interceptor and the medallion would be given to Barbossa by Jack the monkey. Barbossa held the medallion as he waited for the explosives planted by his men to destroy the Interceptor. By the time the Black Pearl returned to Isla de Muerta, Barbossa's crew had Will Turner, who revealed himself as the true descendant of Bootstrap Bill Turner, as their prisoner.[2]

Second attempt[]

Will Turner returning two pieces of gold into the chest.

"The prize is ours!"
Hector Barbossa[src]

Entering the caves of Isla de Muerta, Barbossa once again aimed to lift their curse, this time with the intention of killing Will Turner and using his blood in the blood ritual. But before they could perform the ritual, Jack Sparrow interrupted, warning Barbossa's crew that the HMS Dauntless was offshore waiting for them. Upon this revelation, Barbossa sent all of his crewmen for attack, save for three men. This would lead to a climatic battle, in which Jack revealed that he was cursed; having secretly palmed a piece of the Aztec gold. At the end of the battle, Jack cuts his hand, putting his blood on his piece of the gold, and threw his coin to Will. Jack then shoots Barbossa in the heart just as Will dropped the last two gold pieces, with his blood on his coin, onto the chest. With the Aztec curse lifted, Barbossa dies.[2] The medallion would remain with the other Aztec gold pieces in the stone chest until Isla de Muerta was swallowed into the sea, taking all the treasure along with it, effectively vanishing from the face of the earth.[4][5]

Behind the scenes[]


The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of images and media related to Elizabeth Swann's gold medallion.


Notes and references[]