On Friday, July 13, 1733, the Spanish treasure fleet under the command of General Don Rodrigo de Torres Morales, sailed from Havana Harbor for Spain.
The fleet of 21 ships was loaded with gold and silver from the mine at Cartagena, Peruvian gold and artifacts from Porta Bello and those from the Pacific at Vera Cruz.
On the 14th, the armada found itself in a severe hurricane just off the Florida Keys. By the next morning the fleet was scattered from Duck Key to just above Key Largo. Only one ship was still afloat.
The remains of four of these galleons, the San Pedro, Lerrie, San Francisco, and the Almirante, can be seen today off Lower Matecumbe. This disaster killed hundreds of people and wrecked the Spanish Navy although most of the treasure was recovered.