Nuestra Señora de Begoña
The Nuestra Señora de Begoña was an 18th-century Spanish merchant ship that was owned by the governor of the Canary Islands. The Begoña was a smaller than average fragata about 125-feet in length with a 25-foot draft. The vessel was in route from Venezuela to Puerto Rico April 30, 1725, when it encountered a violent storm off the southern coast of Hispañola. The captain, Don Theodoro Garces de Salazar, diverted the ship to Santo Domingo, where the vessel strategically sank a short distance from the beach so that the crew and passengers could make their way to the shore. The wreck is about 600 feet offshore in shallow water.
The Begoña was carrying large amounts of contraband silver. IU researchers believe the governor was trying to avoid paying taxes on this cargo to the Spanish Crown. Captain Don Theodoro Garces de Salazar was eventually convicted of smuggling silver. Artifacts such as crushed gold cups, 85 pounds of silver dinnerware, and Spanish coins have been found and recovered by IU researchers in shallow water near shore.