full screen background image

The Shipwreck That Changed The World

July 30th, 2015 by Piper Smith

“El Cazador”, a spanish “Brig of War”, was loaded with a vast amount of silver bound for the Spanish New World Territory of Louisiana.


The purpose of this shipment was to boost the failing economy of the New World Territory and to purchase near worthless paper currency. Much of the worthless paper currency came courtesy of revolutionaries from the newly formed United States in the form of counterfeit bills. King Carlos III dispatched one of his most trusted captains in October of 1783. After being refitted and loaded in Vera Cruz, Mexico, the vessel “El Cazador” set dail on January 11, 1784. Unfortunately for Spain, “El Cazador” failed to reach her destination and after extensive searches of region, Spain officially listed “El Cazador” as missing in June 1784. While several other smaller shipments were sent in the years after, Spain’s New World holding would not survive.

In 1800 King Charles IV agreed to cede Louisiana back to France. Three years later, in 1803, Napoleon sold the vast territory to United States President Thomas Jefferson for $15 million as part of the Louisiana Purchase.


On August 2, 1993, “El Cazador” was discovered by Captain Jerry Murphy, aboard his butterfish trawler named the “Mistake”. The nets from the trawler snagged on the bottom, 50 miles south of Louisiana in more than 100 feet of water.