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On This Day… Billions Lost In A Storm

Written by: George Chittenden : 11 Oct 2019

It was on this day, 23rd Sept, back in 1641 when the English ship the ‘Merchant Royal’ sank during a violent storm near the Isles of Scilly, off Land's End in Cornwall, England. At the time England was at peace with Spain, and the Merchant Royal was carrying a huge treasure haul from Cadiz that was going to be used to pay Spain's 30,000 soldiers who were fighting in Flanders.

Interestingly, the Merchant Royal wasn’t supposed to originally carry the treasure, but the Spanish ship that was, caught fire in Cadiz and the Merchant Royal’s Captain, a man named Limbrey volunteered to carry the treasure to Antwerp on his way home. So how much treasure are we talking about? Well, over 37,000 pounds of gold, 500,000 pieces of silver and about 400 Mexican silver coins.

It’s not surprising that treasure hunters were searching for years for the treasure haul. When the ship went down it was due to the fact that her pumps broke. Eighteen men drowned, but Captain Limbrey and forty of his crew got away in boats and survived. So, has the treasure haul been found? Unfortunately it was discovered back in 2007 and seventeen tons of gold and silver coins worth £250 million were recovered

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