lost treasure map



In December 1659, the harbor town of Havana bustled with activity. The Captain of the San Miguel de Archangel readied his 80 ton Byscane class ship for the long sail home to Spain. The San Miquel was a Royal Adviso ship, one of the scores of small ships that sailed routinely without protection of the large yearly Treasure Fleets. Their main function was the transfer of information. They were the combined telegraph, telephone and mail service. They carried the news keeping the Royal Court informed of the current affairs in their colonies. In other words they were the internet of the 16th and 17th century. Every couple of weeks in times of peace they set sail bringing information and bullion that the Empire sorely needed to function

By 1712 AD Spain was desperately  in need of funds (pretty much like today)  due to the War of Succession that had seen Phillip V take the  throne.   To solve this problem the Spanish assembled one  of the richest treasure fleets.  Come 1715 it  consisted of five ships of the Nueva España (Mexico) fleet and six ships of the Tierra  Firme (Main Land) fleet. Significant  amounts of silver (plate), gold, pearls, jewels (emeralds) and other precious items  were loaded at Vera Cruz, Cartagena, Nombre de Dios and Portobello. A further ship, a French  merchantman, the Griffon, also joined the convoy. As a further defence against  pirates and privateers the fleet waited until just before the hurricane season  before setting off from Havana. This was a mistake and a storm destroyed the  fleet just seven days after leaving Cuba.

 Thousands of sailors died. Over the next four years the Spanish salvaged about half of the treasure although pirates hampered their efforts. Items of treasure still occasionally wash  up on nearby shores. Largely  due to the  efforts of  Kip Wagner, a marine treasure hunter, seven of the ships have been located but only a small percentage of the treasure has been recovered. The San Miguel, a Nao class vessel, has yet to be found and  is believed to have separated from the fleet the day before the storm struck.   Carracks  are lighter than Galleons and were often used to carry  treasure as they stood a greater chance of outrunning storms and  privateers.  The objective, after all,  was to get the treasure home.  This could  mean that the San Miguel is actually one of the richest treasure ships yet to  be found.