The shipwreck of the Cazador is an intriguing story that dates back to the early 19th century. The Cazador was a schooner that met its fate in the Gulf of Mexico in 1784, off the coast of Louisiana. The ship’s history and subsequent shipwreck have captured the attention of treasure hunters and maritime enthusiasts.
The Cazador was originally built in Bilbao, Spain, and was later acquired by the French government. It was then employed in the trade of goods and supplies between France and its colonies, including the French territory of Louisiana. The vessel was primarily used to transport cargo, including coinage, as Louisiana suffered from a shortage of currency at the time.
In early 1784, the Cazador set sail from Havana, Cuba, bound for New Orleans. On January 11, 1784, the ship encountered a severe storm in the Gulf of Mexico and tragically sank. The exact location of the shipwreck remained unknown for over two centuries.
The story of the Cazador gained renewed attention in the early 2000s when treasure hunters discovered the wreck off the coast of Louisiana. What made the shipwreck particularly fascinating was the cargo it carried. The Cazador was rumored to be carrying a substantial quantity of Spanish silver coins, known as “pieces of eight,” intended to alleviate the currency shortage in Louisiana.
The recovery efforts unveiled a significant haul of silver coins, estimated to be around 400,000 Spanish reales, mostly minted in Mexico and Peru. The value of the coins was estimated to be worth millions of dollars. The recovery of the treasure from the Cazador wreck created excitement and speculation among historians, treasure hunters, and collectors.
Therefore in summation – An unlikely sequence of events was sparked off by the sinking of the El Cazador which led Spain to relinquish Louisiana back to France, and an entrenched, effective, and successful slave rebellion in Haiti then prompted Napoleon to sell Louisiana to the United States to make some quick cash for his war machine; the sale of which massively expanded American territory and opened the flood gates to westward American expansion. Just over two centuries later, a fishing trawler operating only fifty miles from New Orleans would accidentally find the El Cazador, bringing the story and treasure within her hull full circle. Had El Cazador reached its destination, Spain would have solved her fiscal issues in Louisiana and would have been far less likely to cede the region back to France, meaning the United States might never have acquired Louisiana, thus altering America’s destiny.
The story of the Cazador shipwreck and its valuable cargo serves as a reminder of the dangers faced by seafarers in the treacherous waters of the Gulf of Mexico during the Age of Sail. It also highlights the allure of lost treasures that lie beneath the ocean’s surface, capturing the imagination of those fascinated by maritime history and the mysteries of sunken ships.