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Home arrowNews arrowSeptember 13, 2013

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with History from Florida

September 15 to October 15 is the time to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month. The ACHP is highlighting a national Hispanic cultural resource, the Fleet of 1733 Shipwreck off the coast of Florida. Hispanic culture is a prominent influence in the U.S., touching numerous states including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, and many more.

The Spanish Plate Fleet shipwrecks of 1733 are cultural resources found off the east coast of Florida. On July 13, 1733, the Spanish Fleet was headed toward Spain. The next day the ships passed along the Florida Keys and sensed an incoming hurricane. Only four ships made it back to Havana; one ship made it to Spain. The survivors from the fleet gathered on the islands and made shelters from debris. Havana sent nine rescue ships with supplies and salvage equipment to rescue the crews and their cargo. According to Florida’s Division of Historical Resources, “the 1733 sites represent some of the oldest artificial reefs in North America, supporting complex ecosystems of marine life that have thrived generation after generation over the centuries.” Visiting these sites would be an opportunity to go back in time. (Reference: Florida: Plate Fleet Shipwrecks, the Fleet of 1733)

Welcome sign for the FKNMS Lower Region in Key West at the Dr. Nancy Foster Environmental Complex in Key West. Credit: Craig Wanous, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Welcome sign for the FKNMS Lower Region in Key West at the Dr. Nancy Foster Environmental Complex in Key West.
Credit: Craig Wanous, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the trustee for a network of National Marine Sanctuaries working to protect significant places along America’s ocean and Great Lakes waters. NOAA says that preserving our heritage and understanding “maritime landscape helps Americans become stewards of our shared history and culture, including exploration, immigration, and harvesting the ocean’s bounty.” The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990. The Sanctuary covers more than 2,900 nautical miles in the Florida Keys. Coral reefs, shipwrecks, sea-grass beds, and fisheries are all protected by the Florida Keys Sanctuary, sites including the Spanish Plate Fleet shipwrecks of 1733. (Reference: NOAA National Marine Sanctuary, and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary)

 

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