Spanish Anchor Historical Background

Historical Background

The discovery of the New World along with the voyages of Christopher Columbus brought an onslaught of explorers, conquerors and entrepreneurs to the Americas, and marked the beginning of an era of Spanish mercantilism that existed as part of a large trading route that utilized the Florida straights as a passage home. Trading goods were assembled in Havana, Cuba and loaded on to merchant ships en route to Spain. The goods consisted of fine china, porcelain, silk, and spices from the Orient; silver, gold, and precious gems from Mexico and Central America; copper from Cuba; Indigo dye from Honduras; and agricultural products from the New World.

In order to get these riches back to Spain many perils had to be overcome. Christopher Columbus's loss of the Santa Marina to a hurricane in Hispanolia is an example of the risks that were involved. Spainish fleets tried to avoid the reefs off the coast of the Florida Keys during the summer hurrican season, but many ships met there doom on those shallow reefs.

The Spanish Anchor is representative of anchors from the Eighteenth century. The national origin of the anchor cannot be determined, because anchor styles transcended all nationalities. The Spanish Anchor could be from England, France, Denmark or the Netherlands, but Spain was the dominate sea-faring force during the eighteenth century. Therefore, it is believed that the Spanish Anchor is Spanish in origin.

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