Shipwreck of the Treasure Galleon Santa Leocadia

The story of the wreck of the Treasure Galleon, Santa Leocadia – One of the most beautiful Frigates of the Pacific. This Spanish frigate sank and went to the bottom carrying 2,100,000 pesos in treasure.




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Treasure Expeditions Bradley, Brad, WilliamsonTo ensure the continuation of our successful expeditions, both domestic and international, based on factual historical and archival research, utilizing the best professionals in the industry. Also to provide a return on investment while maintaining the highest archaeological standards.


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The Shipwreck Santa Leocadia

by Bradley "Brad" Williamson

At the end of the 18th Century and during the first decades of the 19th century, Europe was involved in continuing conflicts among the nations fighting for territory and control in the “New World”. This threat

Shipwreck Santa Leocadia
Wreck of the Santa Leocadia
 was felt all the way to the South Sea, along the Pacific coast lines of Central and South America.

This environment resulted in a great increase of pirates and privateers along with the warships of foreign governments which the Spanish government had to fight to protect their valuable treasure galleons. In order to protect the valuable cargo of treasure the Spanish government built four frigates to operate in the South Sea. One of the frigates created by the Spanish government was the Santa Leocadia. The Santa Leocadia is recognized by naval historians as one of the most beautiful frigates of the Pacific.

The Santa Leocadia, commanded by Antonio Barreda, was one of the most beautiful Spanish frigates of the Pacific. On the 7th of November of 1800, it sailed accompanied by the Peruano and two other merchants in commission for the Callao transporting 130,000 pesos for Panama plus another considerable sum from Limean merchants. Altogether the Santa Leocadia had a registered treasure of 2,100,000 pesos in treasure.

Unfortunately, on the night of November 16th in 1800 the beautiful frigate, the Leocadia struck a rocky shoal and broke apart 100 yards from the beach at Punta Santa Elena, Ecuador.  Over 140 lives were lost in the disaster.  Within the next year, the Spanish salvaged about 90% of the registered treasure and ship rigging. However some treasure still awaits on the bottom.

This event sent repercussions for the maritime trade throughout the South Sea. With the loss of the Leocadia, the Spanish government lost one of their valuable frigates to provide them with protection and lost some of the valuable treasure. Also, what was recognized as the most beautiful Spanish frigate to sail the Pacific went to the bottom, never to be seen again. One very unique and rare aspect of this vessel was that it was one of only two galleons to be fitted with bronze nails and fasteners.


If you would like to own a rare artifact from this frigate recognized as one of the most beautiful galleons of the Pacific – CLICK HERE to visit our Artifacts section.



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