Spanish treasure ships wrecked on Padre IslandApril 29th, 1554
On this day in 1554, three Spanish ships were wrecked by a storm off Padre Island near present-day Port Mansfield. The San Esteban, the Espíritu Santo, the Santa María de Yciar, and the San Andrés had set out from Mexico on April 9, bound for Spain. Only the San Andrés escaped the storm. Approximately 300 people were on the three wrecked vessels; of them, perhaps one-half to two-thirds drowned before reaching the beach. A small contingent, probably including Francisco del Huerto, departed for Mexico in a little boat to organize a relief expedition. The second and larger group of survivors undertook what they thought would be a short journey back to Mexico by land. They ran afoul of the local Indians, and only one survivor, Fray Marcos de Mena, reached Pánuco. A Spanish salvage expedition arrived at the site of the wrecks within two months and managed to recover less than half of the 1,000,000 ducats the ships were carrying. After that, the remains of the three ships lay undiscovered until the late 1960s. Artifacts recovered from the San Esteban are now in the Corpus Christi Museum.« Previous Next »
Related Handbook of Texas Articles
Share this article
Get a Piece of Texas History in Your Inbox
With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!
Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:
- Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
- Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
- Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
- Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
Get your Texas Day by Day delivered straight to your inbox:
Send an eCard
Personalize a piece of Texas history. Share a Day by Day article with friends.Send Now
Become a TSHA Member
Get insider access to the most exclusive Texas history club in the nation.Join Today!