GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND, Bahamas – A new museum in the Bahamas is preparing to showcase priceless discoveries, which were made 350 years after a legendary shipwreck.
The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, which translates to Our Lady of Wonders, sank on January 4, 1656 while transporting a treasure trove of gold, silver and gems.
Four days earlier, the Archbishop of Havana had blessed the Maravillas and it set sail from Cuba for Spain along with a fleet of armed warships.
While trying to avoid a reef, the fleet collided and the 891-ton Maravillas sank on the western side of the Little Bahama Bank.
There were 650 people on board The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas when it was lost. Only 45 survived.
After years of searching, Allen Exploration, also known as AllenX, made the historic underwater discovery, which include jewel-encrusted pendants and gold chains.
AllenX is an archaeological expedition outfit headed by famed explorer Carl Allen.
“When we brought up the oval emerald and gold pendant, my breath caught in my throat,” said Allen. “How these tiny pendants survived in these harsh waters, and how we managed to find them, is the miracle of the Maravillas.”
The priceless artifacts will be on display when The Bahamas Maritime Museum opens next Monday in Freeport. Allen Exploration is operating the museum in partnership with the Bahamian government.
“The Maravillas is an iconic part of The Bahamas’s maritime history,” said Allen. “We’re delighted to be licensed by the Bahamian government to explore the Maravillas scientifically and share its wonders with everyone in the first maritime museum in The Bahamas.”