The El Cazador was a Spanish brig that sank in the Gulf of Mexico in 1784. El Cazador remains as one of the most significant shipwrecks in history.
On 20 October 1783, Charles III of Spain sent her on a mission to bring much-needed hard currency to the Spanish colony of Louisiana. The ship sailed to Veracruz, Mexico, where she was loaded with approximately 450,000 Spanish reales.
King Carlos III enlisted his most trusted captain, Gabriel de Campos y Pineda, to command the ship.
On 11 January 1784, she sailed for New Orleans, and was never heard from again. Spain’s attempts to locate the ship were unsuccessful and in June 1784, El Cazador was officially listed as missing at sea.
On 2 August 1993, the trawler Mistake, Captain Jerry Murphy and home port Pascagoula, Mississippi, was fishing in the Gulf of Mexico fifty miles south of New Orleans. As it fished, Mistake’s net hung on a snag. When the crew hoisted the net and dumped the contents on the deck, they found the net was filled with silver coins.
The coins bore markings from the Spanish mint in Mexico, along with the date 1783. Treasure from the ship was originally housed in a safe at the old Grand Bay State Bank building in Grand Bay, Alabama. It is now administered through the Franklin Mint.