Spectacular Treasure Discovered: It Was Hidden Under Waters For Centuries

Divers with Allen Exploration company have revealed new treasures from a legendary 17th-century shipwreck hidden beneath the Bahamas' shark-infested waters for 350 years.

The Spanish galleon named "Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas"  (Our Lady of Wonders) sank off the Little Bahama Bank in the northern Bahamas on January 4, 1656. The 891-ton ship was laden with treasures for royalty and the wealthy.

The Spanish vessel sank rapidly in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean after colliding with its flagship and hitting a reef. More than  600 people died after the collision.

Some of the treasures she was carrying - about 3.5 million objects out of 8 million - were saved until 1990. Still, recent efforts of explorers, who used modern technology, have revealed precious artifacts never seen before.

The treasure included gold and silver objects, coins, Chinese porcelain, iron rigging, and a  silver sword handle belonging to the soldier Don Martin de Aranda y Gusmán. Three gold chains have also been saved, as well as four pendants once worn by members of the sacred Order of Santiago, a religious order of knights deeply active in Spanish maritime trade.

According to experts, all these discoveries are unique among the three million shipwrecks worldwide. All the precious objects recovered from the wreck of the Spanish ship that sank in 1656 will go on display for the first time at a new museum in the Bahamas starting next week.
Treasure Discovered Hidden Under Waters For Centuries
A Treasure Many Have Looked For

"The Maravillas is an iconic part of The Bahamas's maritime history," said Carl Allen, founder of Allen Exploration, which led the recent expeditions.

"We’re delighted to be licensed by the Bahamian government to explore the Maravillas scientifically and share its wonders with everyone in the first maritime museum in The Bahamas."  

Along the centuries, Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American salvors later tried to recover the wreck and the treasures within but they did not have the luck they hoped for.

In the modern era, "Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas"  was rediscovered by Robert Marx in 1972 who heavily salvaged the remains. Further remains were salvaged by Herbert Humphreys between 1986 and the early 1990s.

According to Allen Exploration what's left of the ship has been "pounded into oblivion".

"The wreck of the galleon had a tough history," said Allen. "[It was] heavily salvaged by Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American expeditions in the 17th and 18th centuries, and blitzed by salvors from the 1970s to early 1990s."

Photo Credit: Allen Exploration

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