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300-Year-Old Spanish Shipwreck Holds Million Dollar Treasure
Saturday, 15 August 2015 18:44

Shipwreck divers have announced quite the anniversary present for the flagship of a 1715 Spanish treasure fleet, the Capitana: 52 gold coins, 40 feet of gold chain, and 110 silver coins and buttons all worth over one million dollars.

The find, made over a month ago on June 17, was kept under wraps until now. The Florida family that made the discovery, led by Eric Schmitt, wanted to wait so their announcement would coincide with the 300-year anniversary of the fleet's sinking off the coast of Florida.

The 11 ships were part of Spain's Tierra Firme and New Spain fleets, regular convoys of vessels that transported gold, silver, and other precious resources from Spanish colonies in the New World to Europe.

"The Tierra Firme fleet serviced South and Central America," said Jennifer McKinnon, a maritime archaeologist at East Carolina University, in an interview earlier this year. She was not involved in the current find. The fleet "was vital to the flow of materials back to Spain as well as provisioning the New World with Old World goods." (Read about another shipwreck that was part of the Tierra Firma fleet.) 

The ships sank during a hurricane that hit them on July 30 and 31, 1715 as they sailed past Florida on their way back to Spain. (Read about a cursed warship that sank with treasure onboard.)

Schmitt and his family had been working the 1715 vessels under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, a Florida company with exclusive rights to the wrecks, for several years. 

Read the full story here