SHIPWRECK TREASURE Le Dromadaire Sank 1762AD Cape Verde Silver Ecu Aux Lauriers France Louis XV 1734AD Bayonne


Code: HMC647

SHIPWRECK TREASURE Le Dromadaire Sank 1762AD Cape Verde Silver Ecu Aux Lauriers France Louis XV 1734AD Bayonne

41mm, 27.44g

This coin comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from ‘World Treasure Books’ who sold this previously.

Le Dromadaire belonged to the French East India Company and was built in Nantes in 1758. Under the command of Captain Joseph Le Houx, she departed from the Port of Lorient in the company of Le Berryer and Le Massiac on February 6th 1762, with a total of 154 people on board. She was a ship of 520 tons, carrying 20 guns, 1000 cannon balls and a chest of silver.

Le Gentil wrote in his diary Voyages (II, 697):

The Dromadaire French East Indiaman of 520 tons monted of 20 canons sailed from Lorient at the end of 1761 under captain Joseph le Hou, with the Massiac captain de Vinselou. The ships sailed between the Cap Verde Islands. M. Vinselou made signel to the Dromadaire before night came asking him to change his tract. The weather was strong and foggy. The Dromadaire did not see the signal and thought to be much off the coast of St. Vicent on which she was lost. Only 77 persons were saved. The crew was salvaged by a Dutch ship that sailed to Cap of Good Hope.

Indeed, due to a political rupture between Spain and Britain, Le Dromadaire was asked to take a different course than normal in order to avoid possible interceptions. After passing the Tropic of Cancer captain Le Houx changed Le Dromadaire’s course to pass to the west of the Cape Verde Islands, separating from Le Massiac, which stayed on her original course. Due to bad weather conditions the two ships soon lost sight of each other. As the weather worsened, navigational instruments were of no use and the ship’s position was based on estimates. Even though night watches and lookout duties were intensified, by the morning of February 19th Le Dromadaire was so close to land that the breakers could be heard. As panic spread among the crew, orders were not followed and maneuvers to save Le Dromadaire could not be executed. Within 7 minutes she was carried against the dangerous reef off the Island of São Vicente by the violent currents and broke into two. A Dutch ship nearby was able to save 77 people.

A letter of the Governor of Cape Verde dated February 19 found in the archives (AHU Cabo-Verde, Caixa 28, dossier 27, dated 30 March 1764) describes the following:

I was charged to give assistance to the crew of the French ship lost on the coast of São Vicente about 60 leagues from here, and to try to recover the cargo. I was only informed that the crew was salvaged with boats, which arrived at São Vicente and São Antão … The wood salvaged from the wreck has been bought by the bishop and people say that the chest in which the silver was loaded was lost on the seabed. The French told me that they tried several times to salvage the chest but without success because it was too deep…

· Recovery Report

Le Dromadaire wreck site was found on the 22nd of January of 1996 during a survey of San Vicente Island.

The wreck smashed against the coast and the parallel scattering field is 68 meters long from G19 (northern end) to G27 (southern end). Going to the east, the wreck’s debris starts at a depth of 2m, just under the shore and finishes 55 meters away, at a depth of 17.5m at the eastern end of a deep gully.

The team counted 19 cannons and recovered a semi precious stone that has clearly been cut from a ring, copper sheathing and a gold coin dated 1760.

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