1715 Treasure Fleet
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The 1715 Treasure Fleet was a Spanish treasure fleet returning from the New World to Spain. At two in the morning on July 31, 1715, seven days after departing from Havana, Cuba, eleven of the twelve ships of this fleet were lost in a hurricane near present-day Vero Beach, Florida. Because the fleet was carrying silver, it is also known as the 1715 Plate Fleet (plata being the Spanish word for silver plate). Some artifacts and even coins still wash up on Florida beaches from time to time.[not verified in body]
Around 1,000 sailors perished while a small number survived on lifeboats. Many ships, including pirates, took part in the initial salvage. Initially a privateer, Henry Jennings was first accused of piracy for attacking such salvage ships and claiming their salvages.[not verified in body]
Exhibits and preserves
Treasure hunter Kip Wagner's team built an exhibit held at National Geographic "Explorers Hall" in Washington, D.C. that was featured in the January 1965 issue of National Geographic. This was the beginning of a fine collection of 1715 plate fleet treasure that brought hundreds of visitors from around the world. Wagner published his book Pieces of Eight (Recovering The Riches Of A Lost Spanish Fleet) in 1966. This is a detailed account of the finding and exploration of many of these shipwrecks along the Florida "Treasure Coast." An exhibit was set up with a grand opening on May 1, 1967, at the First National Bank of Satellite Beach, Florida.
In 2015, 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC and their founder Brent Brisben discovered $4.5 million in gold coins off the coast of Florida, the coins come from the 1715 Fleet shipwreck.
In popular culture
The treasure fleet was used as the backdrop for a scene in the video game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. The main character, Edward Kenway, is aboard one of the ships in the fleet as a prisoner, and manages to escape with the help of his future quartermaster, Adéwalé, recruiting other captive pirates as a crew. The pirates eventually manage to escape the fleet and the hurricane by stealing the twelfth ship, the brig El Dorado, which Edward keeps and renames the Jackdaw, becoming the player's ship for the rest of the game. Edward later makes reference to the event when Blackbeard inquires as to how he got the Jackdaw, and the latter then suggests visiting the site to salvage some of the lost treasure.
In the 1977 movie The Deep "David Sanders (Nick Nolte) and his British girlfriend Gail Berke (Jacqueline Bisset) recover a number of artifacts, including an ampule of amber-colored liquid and a medallion bearing the image of a woman and the letters "S.C.O.P.N" (an abbreviation of the latin "Santa Clara ora pro nobis" that translates to english as "Santa Clara pray for us") and a date, 1714. St. David's Lighthouse keeper and treasure-hunter Romer Treece (Robert Shaw), believes the coin has come from the wreckage of a twelfth ship, a French tobacco ship that was being protected by the 1714 fleet and named Grifon (spelt "El Grifón" in Peter Benchley's novel The Deep), returning to Havana for repairs but sank off the coast of Bermuda.
- McLarty Treasure Museum
- Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum
- Piracy in the Caribbean
- Survivors' and Salvagers' Camp – 1715 Fleet
- Treasure hunting
- St. Lucie County Historical Museum
- Brent Brisben – owner of 1715 Fleet salvage rights
- 1715 Treasure Fleet – website of the official salvors of the wrecks
- History of the 1715 Treasure Fleet. The Practical Book of Cobs 4th Ed. Sedwick – The Treasure of Cape Canaveral published in Indian River Journal by Brevard Historical Commission.
- Sunken Treasure: Six Who Found Fortunes, Robert F. Burgess, Dodd, Mead & Co. 1988