© The sinking of the Mercedes, a painting by Francis Sartorius (1734-1804), (c) National Maritime Museum [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
More treasures recovered from 19th century Spanish wreck
September 3, 2015
A 80cm long cannon was among the treasures recovered from a 19th century Spanish wreck off the southern coast of Portugal. Other salvaged items like a gold mortar, silver candlesticks, silverware and plates of silver have also been recovered from the wreck, formerly the Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes.
The Spanish navy frigate had been caught in a fire fight with British ships while on its way from Montevideo, Uruguay to Cadiz, Spain on 8 October 1804. An explosion onboard the ship caused it to capsize. To this day, it has remained in the depths of the sea, at a depth of 1,000 metres.
However, this was not the first time the wreck had been salvaged.
In 2007, US salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered 17 tons of gold from the wreck, the largest haul ever from a shipwreck. When the Spanish government learnt of this, they made a legal claim for the treasure to a US court and succeeded.
In February 2012, two transport planes from the Spanish Air Force brought more than 500,000 Euros worth of gold and silver coins to Madrid.
Today, judging from the current footage of the wreck, it appears that there is nothing left of the ship's wooden hull. The recent salvage operation by Spanish officials had been initiated as there was a possibility that the wreck may sink deeper into the ocean. They had wanted to recover the artefacts that would shed light on life aboard the ship.