Shipwrecks of the "New World"

Spanish Galleons and Marine Tales of the Americas News

  • A search for 17th century sunken treasure continues

     Nuestra Señora del Juncal


    By Andrea Ano - Latin Post


    Newly trained archaeologists' aim to search for the long lost Nuestra Señora del Juncal. More than 400 years have already passed after the storm surge that hit Spain's greatest treasure ship that resulted in the ship sinking to the bottom of Mexico's nearest sea.

    Trained archaeologists of the two countries renewed and set off their journey as they hoped to find the cargo that was full gold, silver and jewels.

    According to stories, days before the ship sailed a bad omen kept happening as Nuestra Señora del Juncal's return voyage in October 1631 was not in a good situation. A day before the ship departed the commander died.

    The ship was also forced to sail even if it appeared unrepairable as it took on its venture in the ocean. As the storm took control of the seas, the ship could not contain its loads. The crew tried to lighten the mass of the ships' load, but it still did not survive.

    Of all the 300 people who were aboard the ship only 39 survived as they climbed into a small launch part of the ship. In the month of May, a 10-day search will be happening as trained underwater archaeologists' will start their journey.

    They hope that the search will work as it is the beginning of a two decade long scientific and cultural collaboration between Spain and Mexico.


    Full story...

     

     

  • Treasure Fever

    Illustration by Chad Lewis


    By Jill Neimark - Hakai Magazine
     

    Most visitors come to Cape Canaveral, on the northeast coast of Florida, for the tourist attractions. It’s home to the second-busiest cruise ship port in the world and is a gateway to the cosmos. Nearly 1.5 million visitors flock here every year to watch rockets, spacecraft, and satellites blast off into the solar system from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, reminding us of the restless reach of our species.

    Nearly 64 kilometers of undeveloped beach and 648 square kilometers of protected refuge fan out from the cape’s sandy shores. And then there’s the draw of relics like Turtle Mound, a vast hill containing 27,000 cubic meters of oyster shells left by Indigenous tribes several thousand years ago.

    Yet some of Cape Canaveral’s most storied attractions lie unseen, wedged under the sea’s surface in mud and sand, for this part of the world has a reputation as a deadly ship trap. Over the centuries, dozens of stately Old World galleons smashed, splintered, and sank on this irregular stretch of windy Florida coast.

    They were vessels built for war and commerce, traversing the globe carrying everything from coins to ornate cannons, boxes of silver and gold ingots, chests of emeralds and porcelain, and pearls from the Caribbean—the stuff of legends.


    Full story...

     

     

  • Shipwreck in Florida: the stuff of history ?

    The big question is if the shipwreck is that of "La Trinite," the 32-gun flagship of a fleet led by Jean Ribault.


    By Leila Macor - Times Live


    The big question is if the shipwreck is that of "La Trinite," the 32-gun flagship of a fleet led by Jean Ribault, a French navigator who tried to establish a Protestant colony in the southeast US under orders from King Charles IX.

    They probably are, say authorities in Florida, the French government and independent archeologists.

    And if they in fact are, this is an unparalleled find, said John de Bry, director of the Center for Historical Archeology, a not-for-profit organization. "If it turns out to be 'La Trinite,' it is the most important, historically and archaeologically, the most important shipwreck ever found in North America," he told AFP.

    All indications are that the shipwreck found is the real thing. The artefacts found at the site off Cape Canaveral include three bronze cannons with markings from the reign of King Henri II, who ruled right before Charles IX; and a stone monument with the French coat of arms that was to be used to claim the new territory.

    The remains are "consistent with material associated with the lost French Fleet of 1565," said Meredith Beatrice, director of communications with the Florida Department of State.

    In 1565, Ribault set sail from Fort Caroline, today Jacksonville, to attack his arch-enemy, the Spaniard Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who had been sent to Florida by King Philip of Spain to thwart French plans to set up a colony.

    But Ribault got caught in a hurricane, which destroyed "La Trinite" and three other galleons and ended French dreams of claiming Florida. Ribault and hundreds of other French Huguenots were massacred by Menendez de Aviles.

    "If the French had not been driven south and ships sunk by the hurricane, we would have a totally different story," said de Bry. "Florida could have been speaking French for a number of years."


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  • Ancient shipwreck in Florida waters

    This appears to be part of a French monument from the colonisation period


    By Léa Surugue - International Business Times


    Three shipwreck debris fields dating back to the mid-16th to 17th century may have been discovered in the waters of Cape Canaveral, Florida, by marine archaeology company Global Marine Exploration Inc.

    Divers encountered different artefacts, which they have tied to the French colonial era in Florida, between 1562 and 1565. Cape Canaveral is a site that has long fascinated archaeologists and scientists, not least because it has for long been associated with American aeronautics and space research.

    "There is a lot of interest regarding the site off the coasts of Cape Canaveral because it is situated near a Nasa base and an air force station so it is crucial to survey and explore the whole coastline near these two centres.

    It is in this context that we found remains of shipwrecks, three of those debris being from the colonial period," Global Marine Exploration Inc. President & CEO Robert H Pritchett, told IBTimes UK.

    The shipwreck remnants were discovered in May 2016, but have only been announced recently to avoid attracting unwanted attention while the research was in progress.

    Artefacts found in the scatter fields include three highly ornate bronze cannons, an iron cannon, 12 anchors, a 39-inch grinding wheel as well as scattered ballast and munitions, and what is believed to be a marble monument with the Coat of Arms of France, dating from the early colonial period.


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  • Colombia trabajará en la recuperación del Galeón San José

    Imágenes de restos de cañones del galeón 'San José' en el fondo del mar Caribe.


    El Pais


    "El Galeón San José lo vamos a recuperar siguiendo todos los cánones”, aseguró este sábado el presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, durante la inauguración de la nueva sede del Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras ‘José Benito Vives de Andréis’, en la ciudad de Santa Marta.

    El mandatario de los colombianos señaló que la tarea de recuperación del galeón no será realizada por cazatesoros y que el propósito es permitir que la humanidad pueda gozar del patrimonio que se logre encontrar.

    "Hay un aspecto que tiene que ver con esta institución y es muy importante: toda la riqueza marina que hay alrededor del San José para recuperar, para poder investigar”, advirtió e insistió en que la idea de rescatar la embarcación obedece a motivos científicos y arqueológicos, más que comerciales.

    El pasado mes de mayo el Gobierno colombiano reveló que aceptó la colaboración de España para la fase de investigación del galeón, sin embargo, en la jornada de este sábado Santos no se refirió a la forma cómo participaría este país en el proceso de recuperación de la nave, hundida por la Armada británica en aguas del Caribe en 1708.

    Desde diciembre del año anterior, cuando el presidente Santos informó a los colombianos sobre el hallazgo de la embarcación 307 años después de su hundimiento, se han profundizado las dudas sobre cuál debería ser el destino del galeón.

    Mientras el Ejecutivo considera que es " asunto de Estado", España, a través de su secretario de Estado de Cultura, José María Lassalle, ha advertido que la "embarcación debe quedarse donde está" y que al ser un patrimonio de la Humanidad, como lo señala la Unesco, "plantea una serie de protocolos de funcionamiento en relación con la protección del patrimonio subacuático".

    A esa voz, se han unido la de otros científicos que desaconsejan rescatar el barco, argumentando que podría perder valor para su estudio.&


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  • Who will get the San Jose treasure ?

    Off the coast of Colombia, researchers have found a shipwreck supposedly filled with jewels and gold pieces


    From DW


    This is the biggest cultural find in the history of humanity - well, according to Juan Manuel Santos at least. The Colombian president was visibly proud as he spoke about what could be buried inside the 300-year-old San Jose galleon, which was recently found on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.

    "We will build a big museum, just like they do in the Scandinavian countries," he said, before cheekily adding, that this discovery is actually more significant than anything that has been found in those countries.

    He does have a right to be excited. Researchers predict that 11 million gold pieces and 200 tons of jewels are still buried in the ship.

    That could be worth anywhere between $3 billion and $17 billion (2.75 billion euros and 15.58 billion euros) in today's money.

    So far, however, the team of Colombian and international scientists has only identified the ship's canons and ceramic containers seen on the underwater photos.

    The galleon was found not far from where Santos held his speech, just off the Colombian coast.

    On June 8, 1708, the square-rigged ship with three masts was on its way to Spain. But the San Jose didn't get far. A number of pirate ships, sailing under British flags, opened fire on the boat.

    Finally, between the Rosario Islands and the Baru peninsula the boat went down. This was a time when various European countries were grappling for supremacy worldwide, as they jostled to take over from the Habsburgs.

    "Attacks on Spanish boats overseas by the English were commonplace," said Nikolaus Böttcher, a historian at the Free University of Berlin.

    "It was done to weaken the Spanish royal family."


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  • Doubt on Christopher Columbus account of Santa Maria shipwreck

    Santa Maria wreck ?


    By Harriet Alexander - The Telegrap



    An 'X' marked the spot on the explorer's map – and the crowd grew wide-eyed in amazement at what they were told lies beneath.

    The 500-year-old diaries corroborated the find, said Barry Clifford, a marine archaeologist, standing at the front of the wood-panelled Explorer's Club in New York.

    The ballast found under the waves matched the profile of the ship, believed to have run aground half a millennia ago. The government of Haiti, the country on the map, was excited by the news.

    Mr Clifford thought he had found his treasure: the wreck of Christopher Columbus's ship, a prize 500-years in the searching.

    "I think the evidence is overwhelming that this ship is most probably the Santa Maria," he said last month.

    But after the triumphant announcement, Mr Clifford's find is now being called into question.

    A Portuguese-American historian, Manuel Rosas, has said that the discovery of the shipwreck is impossible – because the ship never sank.

    His theory, based on over two decades of research, is that the ship did not sink, as is widely believed, but was hauled onto the Haitian shore, used to house the sailors Columbus left behind on his return voyage, and eventually years later burnt as firewood.

    He says that Columbus deliberately misled the world with his journals, because he was acting as a spy for the Portuguese king, rather than reporting to his Spanish paymasters.

    "He was the James Bond of his day," said Mr Rosas, speaking to The Telegraph from his home in New York. "It's unbelievable that he has managed to pull the wool over everybody's eyes for five centuries.

    "But the important thing to remember is that the whole mission was to trick the Spanish – and tell the Portuguese what was really going on. In this he succeeded.

    "Anyone who looks for a shipwreck off Haiti won't find the Santa Maria – because it never sank."


    Full article...



  • Ship's story revealed in 435-year-old wreckage

    By Carl Nolte - San Francisco Chronicle


    Edward Von der Porten, a San Francisco nautical historian and archaeologist, has a sea story to tell - of disease and death and the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon full of the treasures of Asia.

    He holds up a piece of delicate blue and white porcelain, part of a broken bowl. It shows a bird standing in a pond, a boat, a Chinese pagoda.

    It is a piece more than 435 years old, salvaged from a bleak and remote beach in Baja California. It is part of the cargo of the galleon San Felipe, which sailed from Manila in the Philippines for the nearly unknown coast of California and the port of Acapulco, Mexico, in the summer of 1576.

    The San Felipe was never seen again until the wreck was found not long ago, allowing its story to be told for the first time.

    It is a centuries-old tragedy - a horrible last voyage that ended with the crew starving and racked with scurvy or some other dietary disease, so weak they could not sail the ship any longer. The San Felipe ran aground, everyone aboard dead or dying, "like a ghost ship," Von der Porten said.

    The beach where the San Felipe ended up had no water, no food, no people. Even now, it is remote - "the middle of nowhere," Von der Porten said.



  • Archaelogists research 1619 shipwreck off Bermuda

    Bermuda


    By John Bordsen - Post Gazette


    Piotr Bojakowski, 32, has been working in Bermuda for about a year as an archaeologist and conservator at the National Museum of Bermuda. We interviewed this native of Poland who has been researching the wreck of the Warwick, a 17th-century ship.

    Q: What's the story on the wreck ?

    A: In October 1619, the Warwick came to Bermuda with colonists and cargo; it was a stopping point for the English ship, which was bound for Jamestown in Virginia. The ship was here about a month, offloading some colonists and food and preparing to leave. But on Nov. 20, according to chronicles, a hurricane struck Bermuda.

    The Warwick's crew was prepped, but the moorings gave way and the ship crashed into the reefs and rocks surrounding the anchorage, one of the best inside Castle Harbour.

    The ship was completely lost -- sunk with everything it still had on board. The governor of Bermuda, Capt. Nathaniel Butler, had been on board; he had a journal and wrote down events day after day. So we had very good data about the Warwick's location.

    Q: You weren't sure where it was ? 

    A: This is one large bay. Everyone knew it was there ... but not exactly where the remains were.

    Q: Over almost 400 years, there weren't "Look what I found!" discoveries ? 

    A: People started salvaging cargo and cannons right away. Butler came to the site a year later and recovered at least three cannon and barrels of beer.

    The following year, five more cannon and more provisions were recovered. The cannon went to the newly constructed Southampton port at the mouth of the harbor.

    The ship belonged to the Virginia and Bermuda Company, so it was sort of protected.

    We know Butler issued a proclamation that everything looted had to be returned as the owners demanded. The only official salvage was by Butler.


    Full story...



  • On the trail of supposed Spanish treasure in Mexico

    Spanish galleon


    From Latino Fox News


    Starting from a watch dial, Mexican researchers are following a number of clues to find a purported treasure from Spain, while also hoping to find a survivor of that story that goes back to the 1930s exile of Spanish Republicans to Mexico.

    The 7-centimeter (2 3/4-inch) watch dial was found Nov. 20 by divers from the underwater archaeology division of Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute, at the bottom of a lake in the crater of Nevado de Toluca volcano, at 4,200 meters (13,770 feet) above sea level.

    The watch is related to other objects, including a locket and some boxes bearing the name of the Spanish bank Monte de Piedad de Madrid, which were found in the same lake in the 1960s by members of Mexico's Hombres Rana (Frogmen) Club, who kept them in a private collection.

    The pieces might all be related to a treasure said to have been brought to Mexico in 1939 by Republican Spaniards who brought them from Monte de Piedad de Madrid - a savings bank now known as Caja Madrid - and from the Spanish central bank to help support the exiles.

    The story remained literally submerged for the following decades until this year a group of archaeologists, led by Roberto Junco, climbed Nevado de Toluca volcano and descended to the bottom of Lake of the Sun, which has a depth of 12 meters (39 feet) and a water temperature of 5 C (41 F).

    After several days of searching they found a watch face that is now being restored and studied.

    Junco, who knew the story of the divers' club that in the mid-20th century found several objects in that lake, met one of them two years ago, who showed him photos taken at the time the discovery was made of pieces that might reasonably have belonged to the "Spanish treasure."

    The story goes back to 1939, when Gen. Francisco Franco defeated forces loyal to the Spanish Republic.

    That year the ship Vita set sail from a French port with Spanish Republicans aboard, who were apparently carrying objects of value packed in 120 boxes that are said to have been worth $300 million at the time.


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  • Creating treasures from the deep

    By Erik Sanzenbach - St. Tammany News


    What do you do with ingots of silver and copper that date back to 1622, and were discovered by treasure hunters at the bottom of the ocean 360 years later ?

    If you are Jack Mangé, you get some of that treasure from the deep and start making beautiful jewelry.

    That is what Mangé has been doing since 1989, when he approached famous treasure hunter Mel Fisher with the jewelry idea.

    Ever since then the former marketing specialist turned jeweler has been doing, traveling around the country selling under his company’s name Treasure Sails Inc. the Ghost Galleon collection.
     
    In 1622, the Spanish Galleon Atocha set sail from Cuba laden with a cargo of sliver and copper worth millions of dollars.

    The Atocha disappeared at sea around Florida.

    Almost 400 years later, treasure hunter Mel Fisher spent 19 years tracing down the Ghost Galleon and found it in 1985. After paying off his investors, Fisher decided to auction off some of the treasure in Las Vegas in 1988. Mangé was at the auction and saw the huge pile of silver and copper ingots and decided that jewelry would be a good way to use the treasure.

    He approached Fisher, who told him to come to his home in Key West, Fla. When Mangé arrived, Fisher had forgotten about the conversation, so Mangé sent in a poem, via Fisher’s secretary, that he had written about the Atocha.

    Fisher was impressed with the poetry, called in Mangé, who walked out of Fisher’s office that day with an ingot of silver. That was the start of Treasure Sails.

    Since then, Mangé has bought five copper ingots and six silver ingots out of the 582 copper ingots and 1,000 silver ingots found by Fisher.

    Mangé found out that the copper had 1/2 to 1 percent gold in them. He found a foundry that would melt the copper and then skim off the gold and impurities such as sand.



  • Guerra al expolio submarino

    Desde Elcorreo Digital


    Era un secreto a voces. «Sólo en el Golfo de Cádiz hay más oro que en el Banco de España», dijo hace ya dos décadas el catedrático Manuel Martín Bueno.

    Lo sabían aventureros como Robert Max, el arqueólogo norteamericano que cuantificó el botín hundido en la desembocadura del Guadalquivir en 116.000 millones de euros. O el investigador Gonzalo Millán del Pozo, que estima que la cifra supera los 160.000 millones.

    Lo tenían claro especialistas del prestigio de Javier Nieto, que denunció en los 70 que buceadores franceses venían de vacaciones a nuestro país y aprovechaban el vacío legal para saquear los fondos marinos. Y las 28 empresas que en EE UU se dedican, oficialmente, a «localizar y rescatar pecios».

    Lo intuían los documentalistas del Archivo de Indias, los aficionados a las inmersiones superficiales que desde los 60 acumulan colecciones particulares dignas de cualquier museo, los tasadores, los compradores y los anticuarios.

    El litoral era un filón, inmenso y desprotegido. Se trataba de llegar, sondear las coordenadas, cargar la botella, 'pescar' las piezas y venderlas, a ser posible, dentro de nuestras fronteras.

    Algunos cazatesoros, como el italiano Claudio Bonifacio, hasta concedían entrevistas, y posaban tan tranquilos para la foto de primera, bronceados y con gesto intrépido, emulando a los viejos lobos de mar.

    Al circuito sólo le faltaban anuncios en prensa, vallas publicitarias y luces de neón. Reinaba la impunidad.

    A mediados de los 80, el Gobierno dio los primeros y tímidos pasos para atajar el desavío, incluyendo los yacimientos submarinos en la Ley de Patrimonio Histórico.

    En los 90, los Centros de Arqueología Subacuática (Cataluña, Cartagena, Andalucía) se convirtieron en las primeras entidades especializadas en la investigación histórica de los fondos.


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  • Nau portuguesa com tesouro valioso descoberta no Brasil

    Jornal de noticias


    Uma equipa de mergulhadores encontrou perto da costa da cidade brasileira de Rio de Janeiro restos de uma nau portuguesa do século XVIII que naufragou com uma carga avaliada em cerca de 670 milhões de euros, informou a imprensa local.

    Os pesquisadores encontraram restos de madeiras que podem ter pertencido ao "Rainha dos Anjos", um barco que se afundou a 17 de Julho de 1722 frente à baía da Guanabara, na costa do Rio de Janeiro, escreve o jornal O Globo.

    O navio, que viajava da China para Lisboa, tinha feito escala no Rio de Janeiro carregado com 136 preciosas peças de porcelana chinesa da era do imperador Kangxi (1662-1722), terceiro da dinastia Qing, das quais actualmente apenas está conservado um vaso no Museu Imperial da China.

    "Os chineses eram conhecidos pelos cuidados com que embalavam a porcelana. É muito provável que encontremos peças inteiras", declarou o autor da descoberta ao jornal.

    Muito embora os vestígios estejam pendentes de ser enviados a laboratórios dos Estados Unidos para confirmar a sua origem, o mergulhador José Galindo, autor da descoberta, já conta com várias empresas internacionais interessadas em patrocinar as investigações arqueológicas.

    Pelas contas de Galindo, será preciso um investimento de 196 mil euros apenas para desenterrar parte da nau e mais 1.166 milhões de euros para a trazer à superfície.

    Uma empresa britânica mostrou interesse em deslocar equipamento para a zona e participar nas investigações, enquanto que uma companhia norueguesa até já visitou o local.

    O brasileiro José Galindo relata que fez a descoberta quando procurava uma hélice perdida por um rebocador no ano passado.



  • Remains of Spanish treasure galleon found off Indian River County

    By Lamaur Stancil


    It’s taken almost four centuries for someone to find the shipwrecked remains of a Spanish treasure galleon, and it’s just east of Indian River County.

    Orlando-based treasure hunter Tom Gidus said he’s been examining the debris from the ship, which is more than 14 miles east of the barrier islands. Indialantic shipwreck historian Robert Marx said he reviewed pieces Gidus found and concluded they are from the ship known as the Espiritu Santo el Mayor, a 480-ton galleon that sank in a storm in 1626.

    “A bronze cannon was found a number of years back and that is what led us to the area,” Gidus said.

    Retrieving the pieces of the wreckage has become a long-term project, Gidus said. He’s dived and removed just a handful of loose pieces from the wreckage for identification purposes.

    Much of the rest is partially or fully submerged under the sand of the ocean basin, he said. His crew will use either an airlift or underwater handheld blowers to retrieve the ship’s belongings.



  • Pending treasures in the Caribbean sea

    By Luis Sexto


    Treasure hunters have outlived the golden dream of past centuries. Still in the test tube of utopias are, among other plans, the projects to find coffers and pitchers from the Cathedral of Merida, which are going rusty somewhere in the cove of Corrientes, in Guanahacabibes peninsula, in Cuba’s western end.

    Like a pincushion where every needle points to a shipwreck, the Caribbean Sea still stirs up the tempting possibility of holding treasures that go dark against the bovine indifference of fish.

    A map with the location of the shipwrecks that have occurred in five centuries outlines a broad area where wealth is uselessly lying in the seabed, blending in with legends, myths and the ambitions of striking it rich overnight.

    Every now and then, bounty hunters from Europe or North America go through the basin of turbulence of this American Mediterranean [Sea] with an electronic flair, retracing the steps taken by others long before them, for when it comes to money there are no routes left untouched.

    Dreams and adventures in pursuit of good luck are as insistently bred as man himself.

    Treasure hunters have outlived the golden dream of past centuries. Still in the test tube of utopias are, among other plans, the projects to find coffers and pitchers from the Cathedral of Merida, which are going rusty somewhere in the cove of Corrientes, in Guanahacabibes peninsula, in Cuba’s western end.

    Or they are looking forward to finding the right spot where the hulls of the [vessels] Concepción and Magdalena are crumbling, as these were galleons pierced by pirates in 1556 with tons of gold ingots, loaded in Panama, which are lying off the coast of Cape San Antonio, also in Cuba’s western region.



  • Builders unearth 18th century galleon in Argentina

    Galleon


    From Reuters

     

    Argentine builders stumbled across the wreck of an 18th century Spanish galleon while digging the foundations for a riverside high-rise building in Buenos Aires, archeologists said on Tuesday.

    Experts combing the remains of the ship said they did not expect it to contain treasure, but so far they have discovered several canons and well-preserved earthenware jars that were probably used to store olive oil.

    The remains of the galleon were found on a building site close to the shores of the River Plate and archeologists from Buenos Aires city government think the boat was probably shipwrecked some 300 years ago.

    "You can see it's very old and we think it dates from the 1700s, although it's also possible that it's from the 1600s," said archeologist Marcelo Waissel.

     

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  • State wants to drop shipwreck case

    From Record Eagle

     

    The state of Michigan says it has seen no additional evidence to support a claim that a famous 17th century ship is buried in northern Lake Michigan.

    Divers at the site in October found nothing besides a timber protruding from the lake bottom, a piece of wood that was photographed in 2003 or 2004, Assistant Attorney General Louis Reinwasser said.

    The disclosure was made in documents filed this week in federal court in Grand Rapids.

    A group called Great Lakes Exploration discovered the timber in 2001 and believes it may be the wreck of the Griffin, a vessel built by French explorer La Salle. It sank in 1679.

    La Salle's other ship, La Belle, was discovered in the mid-1990s off the Texas coast. With approval from France, state archaeologists there recovered nearly 1 million artifacts, from human bones to muskets, and publicly displayed many of them.

     

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  • Out Yonder : ' Pig War,' sunken ship stirred up trouble with France

    By Ross McSwain


    Over a 167-year period, the great state of Texas and its parent, the Republic of Texas, have had to negotiate with the government of France twice. Both disputes were settled with a compromise.

    The first dispute, in 1841, was called the "Pig War," the name given to the quarrel between French diplomat Alphonse Dubois de Saligny and the Lamar administration that resulted in a temporary rupture of diplomatic relations between France and the Republic of Texas. More about this later.

    The most recent dispute had to be settled in 2003 through the U.S. State Department and then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who met with representatives of the French government to solve the difficulty.

    This situation came to light recently when some 50 or more local and area history buffs met at Fort Concho to hear about the story of the 17th century shipwreck that may have played a role in changing the history of North America.


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  • Spanish galleon discovered in Southern Chile

    By Julia Thompson


    Remains of a 238-year-old shipwrecked Spanish galleon named “Our Lady of the Good Council and San Leopoldo” have been discovered on the coast near the Chilean town of Curepto, located in Chile's Region VII. Oriflama S.A., the private archaeological excavation firm that discovered the galleon, is now grappling with Chilean authorities for permission to continue their excavation efforts and receive part of the estimated US$30 million in booty.

    The Chilean National Monuments Council insists the ship and its treasures are state property under terms spelled out in Chile’s national monuments law N. 17.2888. Even so, the Council has agreed to grant the company 25 percent of the loot.

    “Because the ship was embedded in the sand rather than deep under the ocean 'Our Lady of the Good Council and San Leopoldo' is property of the private business that found it,” the Republic's Comptroller's Office told the Santiago Times.

    Most archaeologists expected to find the remains of the ship deep on the ocean floor. But fragments of the 41-meter x 11-meter ship have been discovered embedded in the sand under fairly shallow waters near where the Huenchullami River flows into the ocean.

    The once ornate vessel was built by the French in the mid 1700s and, loaded with 56 canons, was used by their military until the ship fell into Spanish hands. The Spaniards revamped the ship into a merchant vessel and set it sailing to New Spain.


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  • Thousands of pearls found in shipwreck

    From Associated Press


    Salvagers discovered thousands of pearls Friday in a small, lead box they said they found while searching for the wreckage of the 17th-century Spanish galleon Santa Margarita.

    Divers from Blue Water Ventures of Key West said they found the sealed box, measuring 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches, along with a gold bar, eight gold chains and hundreds of other artifacts earlier this week.

    They were apparently buried beneath the ocean floor in approximately 18 feet of water about 40 miles west of Key West.