From the book Funnel of Gold by historian Mendel Peterson
the Frenchmen Rene Laudonniere undertook the ill-fated settling attempt
at Florida in 1564,he reported that “there is found among the savages good
quantitie of gold and silver, which is gotten out of the shippes that are
lost upon the coast, as I have understood by the savages themselves.” Even
John Hawkins reported about this practice in the 1565 voyage account when
he was near Los Martires, (Florida Keys), where proportedly an Indian king
named Cabs had a “... great store of golde and silver, so farre foorth
that in a certaine village he had a pit full thereof, which was at the
least as high as a man, and as large as a tunne... The greatest part of
these riches was had, as they sayd, out of the Spanish shippes, which commonly
were cast away in this straight.
and Laudonniere had found the Bahama Channel "dangerous," because of "sundry
banks", and Laudonniere comments on the "masts” which were the wracks of
Spaniards coming from Mexico," and to these "wracks" he ascribes the presence
of gold and silver among the Indians, which the latter used to buy what
they wanted from the Frenchmen.
When Hawkins returned to England he reported to the Queen that he had examined much of la Florida and that it was an exceptionally promising region. Although there were no silver mines as in Mexico and Peru, significant quantities of precious metals and pearls had washed and no doubt would continue to wash upon Florida's gently sloping beaches from the wrecks of Spanish galleons.
Elizabeth, Padstow, Sept. 20, 1565, in Report on the Pepys Manuscripts,
Historical Manuscripts Commission (London,1911)
So here we have eyewitness accounts from the years 1564, 1565 and 1578 that the eastern coast of Florida was littered with shipwrecks and treasure was strewn across the beaches. And there was 300 years of Spanish, French, English, Dutch & American shipwrecks still to come. Entire Spanish fleets were destroyed in 1622, 1715 and 1733. Many merchants ships went down in the great storm of 1810.
Mel Fisher estimated that there is a shipwreck every 1/4 mile along Florida's coast. Conservative estimates number in the range of 4000-5000 ships lost. Some of these disasters are historically documented, but many are not. In a one mile area along Vero Beach you can find artifacts and treasure from shipwrecks lost in the years 1618, 1715, 1810 and 1824!
I am regularly
contacted by people from across the globe, from all walks of life, asking
how they can become involved in one of our projects.
We offer interested partners and financial backers a "hands-on" opportunity to participate in the once in a lifetime thrill of an archaeologically responsible shipwreck search & recovery operation. We are not a publicly traded company and we do not sell or trade stock.
Salvage is actively seeking funding for several exciting projects planned
for the year 2012 and beyond.
please contact us via email