These coins were recovered from the wreck site of the Santa Maria de la Consolación located near Santa Clara Island in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Santa Clara Island is also known as “el Muerto” by the locals. Some say it is because from a distance the island looks like a dead man on his back; others say it is because the pirates beheaded the crew of the Consolacion on the island. The shipwreck of the Santa Mara de la Consolación was discovered by ROBCAR in 1997. The company has had the official Ecuadorian salvage lease for the wreck site continuously, since that time.

Shortly after the wreck was discovered, marine archeologist Robert F. Marx discovered documents and a ship’s manifest in the archives of Spain which identified the wreck. The Consolacion purportedly sank near Santa Clara Island while evading pirates in 1681. She was carrying 146,000 pesos in minted silver coins along with 800 silver bars, and gold ingots valued at 34,000 pesos. The Consolación was reportedly torched by the crew after they ran aground near Santa Clara Island. This greatly angered the pirates since they were unable to recover any of their treasure, and the story goes that they beheaded the crew as punishment.

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