Nuestra Senora de Atocha
See Atocha History
The Santa Margarita
The sister ship of the Atocha, the Santa Margarita was part of the 1622 Tierra Firme that left Havana, Cuba on its way back to Spain on September 4, 1622 during the height of hurricane season. The fleet did not make it far before encountering a hurricane which eventually hurled parts of the fleet, the Atocha and Margarita included, north toward the Florida reefs. Most of the fleet made it to the deep waters of the gulf, while some ships were flung directly unto the reef and sank. The Margarita was found by Mel Fisher in the 1980s about 10 miles west of Key West, Florida.
The 1715 Fleet was a Spanish treasure fleet returning to Spain from the Americas. On July 31, 1715, seven days after leaving Havana, Cuba, the fleet encountered a hurricane off present-day Vero Beach, Florida. Eleven of the twelve ships were lost and approximately 1000 sailors perished in the storm. Some coins and artifacts still wash up on the beaches in Florida from this fleet, also known as the 1715 Plate Fleet (plata being the Spanish word for silver).
The Consolacion was attacked off the Coast of Ecuador at a place known as the Isla de Muerto, the Island of Death, in 1681. It was heavily loaded with treasure which was being sailed up from Peru to Panama, and from there to be sent back to Spain. There were 345 people on board the Consolacion when it was attacked. The passengers and crew attempted to escape the Pirates, but to no avail. In an attempt to save the treasure, they decided to scuttle the ship. Upon seeing this, the pirates became so enraged that they slaughtered all 345 of the ships people. An attempt to salvage was made at the time, but very little was recovered by the pirates.
The El Cazador, the ship that changed American history, left Vera Cruz, Mexico on January 11, 1784, with 450,000 pesos in silver on its way to New Orleans to bolster the failing economy in what was then the Spanish colony of Louisiana. When it sank off the coast of Louisiana in 1784 the economy continued to slide which forced Spain to sell the territory to Napoléon of France. When Napoléon had similar economic problems, and he sold the Louisiana Territory to Thomas Jefferson and the United States in 1803 doubling the size of the country overnight. If this ship had made it to New Orleans to stabilize the colony’s economy, the whole area west of the Mississippi might still belong to Spain.