Archaeologists Believe They Have Discovered Captain Henry Morgan's Lost Fleet

Posted on August 7, 2011

Captain Henry Morgan Ships Dive

A team of U.S. archaeologists believe they have discovered the wreckage of a ship they believe is part of Captain Henry Morgan's lost fleet at the mouth of the Chagres River in Panama. The researchers located the shipwreck with the help of a magnetometer survey, a technique used to locate anomalies in the magnetic field below the surface of the water.

In the 17th century, Captain Henry Morgan sailed as a privateer on behalf of England. He defended the Crown's interests and also led pioneering expeditions to the New World. In 1671, Morgan set out to take the Castillo de San Lorenzo, a Spanish fort (pictured below) on the cliff overlooking the entrance to the Chagres River. Morgan lost five ships to the rough seas and shallow reef surrounding the fort.

Castillo de San Lorenzo

The researchers say treasure hunters have stolen many of the artifacts of monetary value, like gold coins. The team is working closely with the Panamanian government to study and carefully preserve artifacts. The underwater research team, comprised of archaeologists and divers from Texas State University, including volunteers from the National Park Service's Submerged Resources Center and NOAA/UNC-Wilmington's Aquarius Reef Base.

The Captain Morgan rum brand, which took its inspiration from the legendary privateer, has provided the dive team with a grant enabling them to continue their research.

Take a look:

Photo: Captain Morgan / Chris Bickford

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