(ORDO NEWS) — For three and a half centuries, people tried to get the valuables that sank along with the Spanish ship. Now it has finally succeeded.
On the night of January 4, 1656, while passing through the Strait of Florida, the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas ran into a reef as a result of a navigational error.
Of the 650 people on board, only 45 survived – despite the fact that there were another 21 galleons nearby, whose teams were trying to carry out rescue work.
Many have become victims of sharks – in those places near the Bahamas, there are more than enough of them now.
The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas sailed from Havana to Spain, carrying treasures from the Americas, both royal and private, as well as contraband and cargo salvaged from another Spanish ship wrecked off the coast of Ecuador.
Almost immediately, the Spaniards tried to lift cargo from the seabed – and they partially succeeded.
Partially – because the ship split in two from hitting the reef, and only the bow remained in place, along with the cargo that was with it.
Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American treasure hunters dived into the shark-infested waters in the hope of getting their share of the cargo.
Of course, there is no need to talk about any careful attitude to the remains of the galleon: they simply robbed it, broke it to make it easier to search. Few believed that anything was left of him today.
Underwater archaeologists from the private company Allen Exploration planned to look for traces of a possible drift of the stern of the galleon, which, it was believed, could be slightly carried away from the crash site.
The ship sank on the western side of the Little Bahama Bank, more than 70 kilometers from the coast.
After examining the eastern side of the bank, archaeologists discovered an extensive trail of debris from the stern, stretching for more than 13 kilometers. They also found treasures.
These are primarily finely crafted jewelry made of gold and jewels: for example, an intricate gold filigree chain with rose patterns.
The gold pendant with the cross of St. James and an Indian bezoar stone, which at that time was valued in Europe for its healing properties (mythical), is made in the shape of a shell.
This is a symbol by which pilgrims were recognized on their way to Santiago de Compostela, to the tomb of St. James.
This find is most likely associated with the Order of Santiago , a military-religious knightly order that protected pilgrims and actively participated in the Spanish maritime trade.
Another pendant depicts a gold cross of Saint James above a large green oval emerald, framed by a dozen square emeralds, possibly representing the 12 apostles.
In addition, archaeologists have recovered a large number of uncut emeralds and amethysts from the seabed. They were mined in Colombia, but they forgot to enter in the declaration, which indicates smuggling.
Allen Exploration was founded by Carl Allen, who built a successful plastics business and then retired to become a philanthropist and underwater explorer in the Bahamas.
He was convinced that not the entire galleon of the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas had been destroyed, and he wanted to study the wreck archaeologically, unlike his predecessors, who did not publish any scientific papers and simply sold the finds.
Moreover, they were only interested in jewelry, while now underwater archaeologists collect all the details related to the ship.
Using the latest technology, they found stone ballast, iron fasteners that once held the ship’s hull together, iron rings and rigging pins.
In addition, they found quite a lot of utensils – from jugs of olives to Chinese and Mexican plates – and personal items, including a silver-plated sword hilt.
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