The last voyage of the Frigate Mercedes

We would like to recommend the exhibition at the MARQ “El último viaje de la Fragata Mercedes”. The exhibition tells the story of the spanish ship that, without previous declaration of war, was sunk by the British Army on 5th October 1804 when was 1 day distance from Cádiz where it should have delivered the goods from the Real Hacienda that was carrying from the Viceroyalty of Peru. This treasure was illegally extracted by the American “treasurehunter” company Odyssey from the bottom of the sea. The american lawyer James A. Goold finally recovered the valuable legacy for the spanish Government after a hard 7 year legal battle.
The case that took place in Tampa (Florida) left a lot of anecdotes and curiosities such as the bucket with more than 300 coins that the own lawyer had to carry for about 1 km under a blazing sun in Gibraltar to cross into the spanish territory. These 300 coins were not mentioned by Odyssey in the trial in Tampa and they were in a store room in Gibraltar so James A.Goold had to litigate in the Gibraltar Court to recover them.
The exhibition has an interesting background beyond the mere exhibition of a treasure. It talks about the historic context and the political consequences of the sinking (Spanish King Carlos IV declared war to Great Britain). It also reflects on the consequences of the destruction of an archeological site and the need to Protect the Subaquatic Archeological Heritage.

We encourage you to go to the MARQ until 20th September 2015.

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