Gold Strike on Florida’s Treasure Coast

A painting depicts a Spanish galleon crashing off Saipan Island.

This painting depicts a storm-tossed Spanish galleon similar to those that went down in Florida waters in 1715.

Nearly three centuries ago, “hurricane season” descended on the seas around the Florida Peninsula. On July 31, 1715, a fierce storm lashed a fleet of Spanish vessels plying their way north from Havana, Cuba, along Florida’s east coast. The 10 ships, which were carrying New World gold and silver destined for Spain, crashed into the reef and sank to the sandy bottom. More than 1,000 people perished. Although the Spanish returned to the spot and recovered most of the treasure from the wreckage, they didn’t find it all.

Today’s deep-sea treasure hunters are still finding some of the left-behind booty. In early July, a boat working for the 1715 Fleet–Queen Jewels salvage company discovered a trove of gold coins, worth an estimated $250,000, not far from Cape Canaveral. It was a significant find, but nowhere near the most valuable shipwreck treasure discovery in Florida waters. In 1985 the renowned Mel Fisher retrieved some $400 million worth of coins and other treasure from a Spanish galleon that had sunk in 1622 off the Florida Keys.

In 2007 another salvage company made a haul worth even more, retrieving gold and silver coins and other artifacts valued at more than $500 million from a sunken Spanish vessel off the coast of Portugal. However, when the claim wound up in court, the treasure ended up being awarded to the government of Spain. The company’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied in 2012. Do such rulings sound a death knell for the notion of “Finder’s keeper’s”? Judging by the intrepid explorations of treasure seekers like the Floridians who “struck gold” last month, the court’s decision has not put a damper on the perennial search for shipwrecks and their bounty.

Image credit: © National Geographic Society/Corbis

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  1. me says:

    first one to comment

  2. DQ says:


  3. master chef says:


  4. cortana says:

    i know chef

  5. master chef says:

    this is a cool story

  6. Gold Strike One Florida's Treasure coast. says:

    What I learned about this article is that there was a ship with a lot of gold on it that was going to Florida when it hit a large wave and tipped over and sunk, more than 1,000 people perished on the ship. Although the Spanish returned to the spot and recovered most of the treasure from the wreak, but they didn’t find it all.

    • Zian says:

      haricot: I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think maknig the best of out the cards that we have is the wisest and most positive outlook one can ever have. galaxy: Heaven knows 當然是玄又又玄的答案 簡直不可說 :o )

  7. PIE says:


  8. jj says:

    not fair


    I think that whoever found it should give it all to me.

  10. LAURYN ENGLISH says:

    I think that whoever found it should give it all away

  11. Alexander says:

    how much can be down there and how long will it stay?

  12. Josh says:

    i would of kept at least 100 million

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