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– Roughly 800 galleons from the 16th to 18th centuries rest on the seabed in the Gulf of Cadiz, off southern Spain, nexus of trade with the Spanish colonies.
– Another 150 galleons went down off the coast of neighbouring southern Portugal.
– The ships are believed to have contained a total of $1.5 billion in gold, silver and pearls.
– Most of the shipwrecks along the Spanish coast occurred when rotting hulls hit shallows, where they were ripped apart. They rest at a depth of 10 to 15 metres (33ft to 49ft); some are buried under layers of sand. Pirates were rarely to blame.
– Between 5,000 and 6,000 Spanish galleons were sunk along Spain’s colonial trade routes, in the Caribbean, around Panama and Florida, as a result of hurricanes and tropical storms.
Source: The Association for the Recovery of Spanish Galleons