On the night of October 31 to November 1, 1631, the ruin of the kingdom arrived. The Galleon Our Lady of Juncal, Loaded with more than one million pesos of gold, silver and precious stones, it was swallowed by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was the money destined to maintain the wars of Flanders. Only 39 of its 300 crew were saved. In addition to an immense wealth of precious metals, tons of cocoa and dyes destined to color the clothes of the noblemen from all over Europe also disappeared under the sea. Last Friday, the Spanish and Mexican authorities have agreed again – it was agreed in 2014 – a “joint archaeological campaign” to continue locating the wreckage of the ship, one of the two flagships of the New Spain Fleet, which transported the wealth of America to Spain.
The new campaign, which will be carried out for ten days in spring, will be co-financed by both countries and will be attended by a team from the National Museum of Underwater Archeology (Arqva),directed by archaeologist and historian Iván Negueruela, according to a statement from the Ministry of Culture. Negueruela has assured EL PAIS that “it is a unique opportunity to develop a great joint investigation, since Mexico and Spain signed the 2001 Unesco Convention for the protection of underwater heritage.” “The relationship of the two archaeological teams is professional and personally optimal,” he adds. “We have 20 years ahead to investigate a field that could reach 150 tons of historical materials.”
The decision to resume the search was taken Friday in a working meeting between the director general of Fine Arts, Román Fernández-Baca, and the deputy director of Underwater Archeology of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico, Roberto Esteban Junco. The agreement is part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2014 between the two countries in the field of underwater cultural heritage.
The two nations have also committed to “organize the first major exhibition held so far on the ship Our Lady of Juncal, a sample that will visit both countries and whose first stop will be the General Archive of the Indies, in Seville, ”says the Spanish Government.
The Fleet of the Indies was composed of 13 vessels that had left Cádiz in 1630 and returned to Spain from the port of San Juan de Ulúa (Mexico) in October 1631. After intense storms and fifteen days of fighting the winds, they were shipwrecked on the Mexican coasts both the Santa Maria, how Our Lady of Juncal.
The tragedy of Reedbed It begins when, just one day before sailing, Miguel de Echazarreta dies, the captain general of the New Spain fleet. It is discussed whether to leave or not, but Felipe IV was urged for money and made to the sea. The fleet, consisting of 13 ships (of which five are lost), sets sail on October 14, 1631 with the damaged galleon. It had water inlets that had not been repaired and when a storm begins within a few days, they have to shrink water day and night, do not maneuver well and get to cut the main mast.
After two weeks of sea convulsa the Reedbed it sinks. 39 people survive (a merchant, a religious and 37 crew), who are saved aboard a small boat (also bored). It was the boat that should be used to safeguard the correspondence of the king, the nobles, the captain and the pilot. The nobles of Reedbed they had bribed the jeweler to save themselves in that boat, but they failed to throw it into the water because they lacked a main mast, so they went to their cabins to prepare to die. And they are the first to do it when the ship sinks. The galleon enters the story.