Tag Archives: spanish treasure fleet 1733

Spanish Treasure Fleet Of 1733

Twenty out of twenty-one Spanish Navy ships went down right here on Saturday July 14th, 1733! Here’s what the historical marker (pictured to the left) states happened on that fateful day: “On Friday, July 13th, 1733 the Spanish treasure fleet under the command of General Don Rodrigo de Torres Morrales, sailed from Havana Harbor for Spain. The fleet of 21 ships were loaded with gold and silver from the mint at Cartagena, Peruvian gold and artifacts from Porta Bello and those from the Pacific at Vera Cruz. On the 14th, the armada found itself in a severe hurricane just off the Florida Keys. By the next morning the fleet was scattered from Duck Key to just above Key Largo. Only one ship was still afloat. The remains of four of these galleons, the San Pedro, Lerrie, San Fransisco and Almirance, can be seen today off Lower Matecumbe. This disaster killed hundreds of people and wrecked the Spanish Navy although most of the treasure was recovered.” Wow, 20 out of 21 ships gone within a day of turmoil at sea. Yes, this historical marker looks similar to others found in the Keys but upon its face is the difference that matters written in life lasting bronze.

You can find this historical marker on the left side of US-1 South at Mile Marker 78.5 beside the Ponce de Leon Stood Here one I blogged about last month.

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Islamorada’s Historic Indian Wells

Located in Islamorada are some Historic Indian Wells that were used for over a thousand years as one of the only sources of life-sustaining fresh water. The marker in front of it (seen here) reads: ‘These wells were surrounded by an Indian village over 1,000 years ago. The Spanish used the wells to replace their water supply before crossing to the mother country. This site was a salvage camp to recover treasure from the Spanish galleons lost in the 1733 hurricane. Some of those wrecked nearby are the Capitana, Chaves, La Florida, and Tres Puentes. The early settlers from the Bahamas used this source of water from the mid-1800’s to 1942 when water was pumped from the mainland by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’.

The wells themselves sit about 15′ into the treeline and is probably best suited that you glance at them from there. Sad to say that this site (like other forgotten Historical sites) hasn’t been kept up to par and is more than slightly over grown. It also appears to be a prior haven for teenage party-goers or the homeless judging by the trash, beer cans & wine bottles abound. I wandered into the bush for a photo and then quickly retreated proclaiming success saying “There, I saw it!”. I’ve included that one photo I took showing a cement cap over one of the wells and boards over and around another.

You can find this not-quite Fountain of Youth at Mile Marker 83.8 on the right side of US-1 South just past the Historic Whale Harbor Restaurant. While your there, take one more minute of your life to walk 200′ down on the same side of the road and see the Island School’s Sleeping Giant Buttonwood Tree that I reported on earlier this year (as seen in the background below).


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Historic THREESOME :-)

Threesome anyone? 🙂 In fact, this is a THREESOME of Historical proportion. Seldom anywhere will you find three Historical Markers at the same location. Here is in fact the exception to the rule. I’ve reported on two of these in the past yet only photographing them separately till now. The first two blogs were Ponce de Leon Landed Here In 1533 (left marker) & Spanish Treasure Fleet Of 1733 (right marker).

Here’s the final installation of the historical trilogy. This one is simply called ‘Rafters’ (center marker), here’s a portion of its text: “This plaque is in memory of the many Cubans who were desperate to leave Castro’s communist Cuba. They left their homes and families trying to cross the 90 miles of sea in rafts, inner tubes or anything that would float. Not knowing what rough seas and storms would be encountered, hundreds or even thousands were lost and never heard from again. This is in memory of those who lost their lives, and those who made it to this country. They are now free, contributing to their new homeland here as teachers, business people, political leaders and the economy of our state.”

You can find this historical marker threesome at Mile Marker 78.5 on US-1 south on the left side of the road. While you’re there, walk on the same exact land as Ponce de Leon, search for the lost treasure fleets cargo, and lastly come ashore where some desperate former Cuban citizens landed to be part of a FREE nation we call home!

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