In the year 1715, around eleven-ships loaded with treasure were headed towards Spain from Havana.

During this voyage, the 1715 treasure loaded fleet consisted of 12 ships had encountered a terrible hurricane. The tragic hurricane winds smashed 11 out of the 12 ships and wrecked them completely taking approximately 1,000 lives.

The 1715 treasure fleet is also known as the 1715 plata fleet, because it was carrying silver and plata.

Silver Plata Coins

This Spanish treasure fleet disaster is known to be one of the greatest in terms of lost and sunken treasure. But, it is also considered as one of the worse tragedy in terms of the number of casualties involved.

When the news about the disaster reached Havana, several salvage ships were sent to the site location. The salvage operations went on for several years, mainly with the help of Indian slaves.

The salvage ships along with the Indian slaves were able to recover most of the treasures from the wrecked ships.

The recovered treasures were stored inside a storehouse that was built behind the beach but unfortunately, it was looted in 1716 by the Britishers.

Perhaps due to disappointment due to the looting incident, the salvage operations could not be carried any further so it was ended in 1718.

Modern Day Salvage of the 1715 Treasure Fleet

After the 1715 salvage ended in 1718, nothing was spoken of about it until the 1960s.

Beach Coin

In the early 1960s, Kip Wagner a local resident luckily found a coin on the beach, just after a hurricane.

Being able to find such piece of coin, he decided to hunt for the source of this coin. With the help of a metal-detector and a chart belonging to the year 1780, he was able to locate the salvage camp of the 1715 fleet along with some coins and artifacts.

After recovering the coins and artifacts, he formed a team of divers and took permit from the Florida state. After which, the salvage started looking for the treasured wreck.

Divers

The divers better known as the Real Eight Company used a suction apparatus in the beginning and then later only did they adopt the propwash-blower.

With the help of their latest apparatus, they were able to find the following items:

• Gold jewels
• Silverware
• Gold ingots
• Silver ingots
• Chinese porcelain
• About 10,000 gold cobs belonging to the mints of Mexico, Columbia and Peru.

There are still some five to thirteen galleons of treasure that stays undiscovered and a few old wrecked sites with few old coins that remains.

During the past hurricanes, a few of the old precious coins have reached the shore where they ended into the hands of some lucky local residents of the state of Florida who found them.

Wagner and His Book

Kip Wagner the man behind the Right Eight company mission, published a book known as the Pieces of the Eight (Recovering the Riches of a lost Spanish fleet) in the year 1966.

This book is known to be an elaborate account of the whole exploration of the 1715 treasure fleet by Wagner and his team of divers. It has an account or documentary reports of the findings recovered from all the shipwrecks along Florida.


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