The Mystery Of The Long-Lost Treasure Of The San Miguel

The most tantalizing buried treasure isn't the one that's so hidden that it's inaccessible. It's the one that is surely just under your feet, just under the right stone, within easy reach. The treasure of the San Miguel is one such trove. On Amelia Island, Florida, on the Nassau Sound, people estimate that the treasure is worth $2 billion at least. 

As History Collection reports, the San Miguel was a Spanish ship, part of a fleet dispatched from Cuba to Spain in 1715. Spain had finally ratified the treaty known as the Peace of Utrecht in 1714, ending its fierce territorial disputes with France (per Britannica). But years of war had left the King of Spain penniless. He needed gold — lots of it. As Spain's American territories remained intact, the King ordered a massive treasure of American gold and silver amassed in Cuba to be shipped home. Cuba's colonial government obliged and loaded 11 ships with 14 million pesos in ingots, bars, and coins. One of these ships was the San Miguel.

Wrecked but never found

San Miguel was the fastest ship of the fleet, the most capable of outmaneuvering pirates, and thus the most likely to arrive home safely. As such, it carried a bigger load of treasure than any other vessel in the fleet. According to History Collection, The San Miguel, importantly, also disembarked a day before the other 10 ships. 

But summer weather in the West Indies is temperamental. No one on shore could have predicted that a hurricane would start blowing just as the main treasure fleet was departing. The fierce winds smashed the fleet off the Florida coast, capsizing or wrecking the ships as they passed Vero Beach. An estimated 1,000 people drowned. After the storm, the Spanish colonial government managed to salvage about half of the treasure; the rest remained sunk too deep, buried in the sand and gloom, though over the years seven of the ships and some of their treasure have been found. 

But where is the San Miguel? Almost assuredly, the San Miguel sank; no one ever heard from it again. But how far ahead of the main fleet would it have gotten? Treasure hunter Doug Pope is convinced it's off Amelia Island, according to Amelia Island Living. Gold coins, cannons and even a jeweler's furnace have been discovered near the southern part of Amelia Island. The wreck of the San Miguel, and all its long-lost treasure, can't be far.