Time for a quick history lesson. After Christopher Columbus found the New World, Spain proceeded to go forth and conquer much of it in the decades that followed. By 1533, the mighty and wealthy Aztec and Inca empires were under Spanish control and the Spanish began importing unprecedented amounts of gold and silver from their new colonies. Most of the ships bringing back these precious metals would meet around Havana in the summer and sail back across the Atlantic together. However, not all of those ships made it back to Spain. Some were attacked by pirates and some were sunk by hurricanes and other bad weather. Those two reasons are why there are hundreds of shipwrecks off the coast of Southern Florida and many are long forgotten and have yet to be rediscovered.
Until 1988, undersea explorers finding a shipwrecked galleon filled with gold could keep everything they found and make a fortune selling off all the gold. Now though, shipwrecks in America’s territorial waters are considered to be legal property of the state and it’s now illegal to scavenge from a shipwreck you might find. Although many fantasize about the riches they might find in a sunken galleon filled with gold and silver, most of the shipwrecks that have been found were old Native American canoes and slave ships. Still it is really cool to realize that when you look out at the ocean from South Florida there are hundreds of relics from a bygone age sitting there underneath the waves.
Considering the state of Spain’s budget, they could use some of that gold.