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Search for 17th century wreck with valuable cargo to begin in spring

This spring, Spain and Mexico are going to start a search for the wreck of a Spanish ship that sank in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in 1631. This is not just any wreck, however, but the remains of the vessel Nuestra Señora del Juncal, which was carrying an extremely valuable cargo of
Published: February 12, 2020 - 16:55
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:17
Search for 17th century wreck with valuable cargo to begin in spring

This spring, Spain and Mexico are going to start a search for the wreck of a Spanish ship that sank in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico in 1631. This is not just any wreck, however, but the remains of the vessel Nuestra Señora del Juncal, which was carrying an extremely valuable cargo of gold and silver on its way back to the Iberian Peninsula.

In 1630, the ship Nuestra Señora del Juncal was part of a fleet of 13 vessels that left the port of Cadiz for America. The voyage was successful and, having accomplished their mission, in May or June 1631, the Spanish ships loaded with valuable goods were to set sail again. However, the departure was delayed due to the threat of pirates prowling the west coast of Cuba.

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When the Spanish fleet finally set sail in October, it was caught in a strong storm a few days after leaving the port of San Juan de Elúa in Veracruz. As a result of the damage sustained during the storm, after several days of fighting at sea for survival, two vessels sank – the Santa Maria and the target of the spring search, the Nuestra Señora del Juncal.

ship

The risk of getting caught in a storm and fighting the elements was considerable and everyone realised this from the start. However, the demand for the precious cargo of precious metals in Spain was so great that the decision was taken to sail at a very inopportune time of year, when there was a cold front at sea and storms were raging.

The story of the last days and the sinking of Nuestra Señora del Juncal has been described in detail, as 39 crew members were rescued from the ship. Now, almost 400 years later, a 10-day search expedition will be carried out based on this information, led by experts from the National Museum of Subaquatic Archaeology in Cartagena.

The financial side of the project will be the joint responsibility of Spain and Mexico, which is the aftermath of the arrangements and agreements signed in 2014. The two countries, due to their strong historical ties, have pledged to partner on archaeological projects relating to their shared heritage.

Source: eluniversal.com.mx, mexiconewsdaily.com

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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