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Spanish Silver Bust Coin Pendant - El Cazador Shipwreck - 2 Reales in sterling silver frame. Certificate of Authenticity. Coin Type: SPANISH BUST. Date: 1776. Denomination: TWO REALES. Assayer: FF. Ruler: CARLOS III. Metal: SILVER. Framing: STERLING. Mint: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO. Source: EL CAZADOR SHIPWRECK. Obverse: Draped bust of Carlos III, inscription around: DEI GRATIA (By the Grace of God), date, CAROLUS III. Reverse: Crowned arms of the House of Bourbon sided by the Pillars of Hercules, assayer and legend around.
In 1784, the ill-fated ship, El Cazador, “The Hunter” was headed toward New Orleans from Vera Cruz, Mexico. The ship was laden with 450,000 pesos, which were intended to solidify Spain’s holdings of approximately one million square miles of America’s heartland, called the Louisiana Territory. The vessel and her crew disappeared without a trace, never arriving to help stabilize the economy.
Finally in 1800, with no money to pay his troops, King Charles IV of Spain transferred the Louisiana Territory over to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte for some minor European considerations. In 1803, only three years later, Napoleon and President Thomas Jefferson struck a deal called the Louisiana Purchase. The fledgling United States purchased these one million square miles for fifteen million dollars, a mere 3 cents an acre. The new United States doubles in size, taking on the shape that defines it today, opening up for westward expansion, and establishing America as the land of opportunity.
The El Cazador and its treasure sat on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico for 209 years before a fishing boat off the coast of Louisiana accidentally discovered it. It’s hard to say what would have happened if El Cazador had made it to New Orleans but it could be argued that the loss of this ship did contribute to the unifying of the United States of America.
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