Archaeologists have been able to look back at life nearly 400 years ago after a treasure hunter fulfilled his lifelong goal of discovering the remains of a 17th-century ship known as "the Shipwreck of the Century" worth 300 million pounds

Archaeologists have been able to look back at life nearly 400 years ago after a treasure hunter fulfilled his lifelong goal of discovering the remains of a 17th-century ship known as “the Shipwreck of the Century” worth 300 million pounds

ARCHAEOLOGISTS were able to take a peek into life almost 400 years ago after a treasure hunter fulfilled his lifelong goal of uncovering the remains of a 17th-century vessel dubbed the “shipwreck of the century”.

The heavily-armed galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha served as the rear guard of the 20-strong Spanish fleet that left Havana, Cuba, in early September 1622, destined for Spain. In addition to 265 people, the ship was carrying as much as 40 tonnes of silver, gold and around 70 pounds of Colombian emeralds, some of the finest and most expensive in the world. After a hurricane struck on September 5, 1622, eight ships sank – including the Atocha – littering the ocean floor from the Marquesas Keys to the Dry Tortugas, between 30 and 70 miles to the west of Key West, Florida.

As the Atocha went down into the water at a depth of 55 feet, rescuers tried to get into the drowned hull but found the hatches were tightly battened.

The site of the wreck was marked, but a second hurricane on October 5 further destroyed any clear remains, and despite six decades of searching by Spanish salvagers, no trace of the Atocha or its treasures were ever found.

Fast-forward more than 300 years, and American treasure hunter Mel Fisher set out on a lengthy and dangerous mission to uncover the ship’s treasure.

A few finds along the way convinced him that he was getting closer to the great discovery.

Divers located the motherload in 1985 (Image: GETTY/AQUA SURVEY)

Nuestra Senora de Atocha left Cuba in 1622 (Image: WIKI)

The crew found some silver bars in 1973 and two years later they found five of the galleon’s cannons, but tragically, Mr Fisher’s son, wife and another diver died when a salvage boat capsized soon after.

Despite this, Mr Fisher continued to pursue his lifelong dream of finding the Atocha and in 1980, he knew he was getting close when they discovered the wreck of the Santa Margarita, the Atocha’s sister ship.

Then, in 1985 – 16 years after Mr Fisher first set out to find the Atocha – he received a message from his other son, stating: “Put away the charts, we’ve found the main pile!”

The crew described that the “motherland” of the ship had been uncovered mainly intact in what was described as “the shipwreck of the century” at the time.

In addition to a fortune’s worth of gold and silver bars, coins and jewellery, the bounty recovered from the Atocha included the Colombian emeralds, along with items ranging from navigational instruments to ceramic vessels, all offering a glimpse into 17th-century life in Spain and the New World.

Its treasure is worth millions (Image: GETTY)

With an estimated worth of some $400million (£303million), the Atocha treasure made Mr Fisher, his family members and other investors millionaires and set the record for the most expensive shipwreck found at the time.

Thanks to efforts by historians and archaeologists as well as environmentalists, Mr Fisher’s success led to reforms in the laws governing shipwrecks and salvage.

In 1987, Congress passed the Abandoned Shipwreck Act, which gave states the rights to shipwrecks located within three miles of the coastline.

Mr Fisher wore one of the most remarkable pieces – a heavy gold chain that hangs past waist-length – when he appeared on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” soon after discovering the Atocha’s treasures.

DONT MISSEnd of the world: How archaeologist discovered ‘real Maayan doomsday’ [VIDEO]Mayan DISCOVERY: How find in ancient city ‘reveals creation story’ [CLAIM]Egypt: How ‘greatest archaeological find of all time’ stunned expert [REVEALED]

40 tonnes of gold went down with the ship (Image: GETTY)

Precious emeralds from Colombia were recovered (Image: GETTY)

The treasure was not entirely sold and some of the artefacts are displayed at Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida.

The site of the wreckage of the Atocha, called “The Bank of Spain” is still being worked on and more treasures are slowly being recovered.

In 2017, treasure hunter Darrell Miklos explored the shipwreck as part of Discovery’s ‘Cooper’s Treasure’ series.

 

Related Posts

“Unveiling a ріeсe of History: Young Boy Discovers іпсгedіЬɩe 30,000-Year-Old Mammoth сагсаѕѕ”

Many young Ƅoys haʋe an innate curiosity to explore their surroundings, hoping to stuмƄle upon soмething extraordinary. That’s precisely what happened to an 11-year-old Russian Ƅoy who,…

“Half-Fish, Half-Frog: Bizarre Creature Captured in Indonesia”

Indonesian fishermen have саᴜɡһt a ѕtгапɡe creature that has left the online community Ьewіɩdeгed. The creature, which appears to be half fish and half frog, has left…

“Stone-Cold Enigma: The Astonishing Transformation of a Mythical Giant Snake into Stone Baffles Scientists”

Scientists were left Ьewіɩdeгed when they discovered that the ɩeɡeпdагу giant snake had been mysteriously petrified Receпtly, archaeologists have discovered a vast “fossil” of aп aпcieпt sпake…

Reindeer Herders Stumble Upon 10,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Ligaments Intact

Researchers have already retrieved part of the mammoth’s pelt and are hoping to find bits of preserved brain in its skull. Artem Cheremisov/Gov. of Yamalo-Nenets of Russia…

Sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ!!More thaп 9,000 years old giaпt boпes have beeп foυпd iп Greece

sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ!! ʜᴜɢᴇ ????-ʏᴇᴀʀ-ᴏʟᴅ sᴋᴇʟᴇᴛᴏɴ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ɪɴ ɢʟɪsʜ. ɢɪᴀɴᴛ ʙᴏɴᴇs ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ ?,??? ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴏʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴇɴ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ɪɴ ɢʀᴇᴇᴄᴇ. ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɢɪᴀɴᴛs ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴇxɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴜᴍᴀɴ sᴋᴇʟᴇᴛᴏɴ…

The Most Mysterioυs Αпd Rare Gold-cast Coffiп Iп The World, 10 Years Still No Oпe Dares To Opeп It

Dυriпg the past 10 years, experts had hoped to υпcover the mystery iпside the rare goldeп coffiп with the help of special techпiqυes. However, besides still пot…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *