On January 11, 1784, The El Cazador sailed from Veracruz Mexico to the port of New Orleans loaded with silver coins. The ship never arrived. At that time Spain owned the Louisiana Territory and had intended to use the cash on the El Cazador to stabilize the territories fledgling economy. Without the cash, Spain was forced to sell Louisiana to France for a small sum. Just three years later in 1803, Napoleon sold the vast territory to U.S. President Thomas Jefferson for 15 million dollars. The purchase in effect doubled the size of the United States and opened the gates for westward expansion.
We may never know what happened to the El Cazador, but one thing is certain, had the ship not gone down, there is a good chance the U.S. would look very different today!
On August 2, 1993, 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, a fishing trawler named “mistake” snagged some debris on the ocean floor and were amazed with what they brought up – the coins from the El Cazador. The coins were salvaged from a depth of 300 feet and have been sold over time to collectors eager to own some of the coins that helped shape the world!
Eight Reales were also known as “Pieces Eight”, “Bust Dollars” and “Spanish Milled Dollars”. They were the first legal tender U.S. Dollars and remained in use until 1857. The Eight Reale was commonly cut into eight pie shaped sections, known as “bits”, the bits were used as small change, with two bits equaling a quarter dollar.
Perhaps The Most Important Ship Wreck Treasure Of All Time!
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