Merchant Royal was loaded with enormous amounts of silver, gold and other precious items when it sank off the coast of Cornwall on 23rd September 1641.
Though it has not been found yet, it is said to contain one of the world’s most precious shipwreck treasures, and several savage companies have tried to find it but in vain.
Built-in 1627 in London, the Merchant Royal is said to have been loaded with 500 bars of gold bullion, half a million coins, 400 ingots and several pearls and gems when submerged in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
This 700-ton ship had an 80-member crew apart from the passengers. The ship’s Captain, John Limbrey, struck a deal with Spanish authorities to transport gold and silver to Antwerp, a bustling port city, to pay the Habsburg garrison stationed there.
The ship had been struggling with leaks for some time, and although it underwent repairs in Cadiz, the problem could not be solved. While it was on its way to transport the riches, its hull began taking water and the stormy sea and malfunctioning pumps worsened the situation.
Despite the efforts of the crew members, the ship began leaking and could not be saved. Eighteen crew members were rescued by another ship.
However, they could not save the treasure or even their personal belongings. The ship went down, taking with it a treasure worth one-third of England’s public funds during that period.
In 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration, an American Company, found 600,000 silver coins, several gold coins and other items in the Atlantic Ocean.
It was rumoured that it belonged to the treasure of the Merchant Royal and was taken to the U.S. However, they were ordered to give the items to Spain as the ship was a Spanish Frigate.
After many failed attempts by the companies to find this ship, hope was found in 2019 when a fishing vessel called Spirited Lady found a massive anchor dating between 1600 and 1800 off the Cornwall Coast.
This finding has narrowed the search area for the salvage companies looking for the ship’s treasure. However, the mystery of the ship’s treasure remains unresolved.
References: History, Dailystar
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