AFTER WRECKING: EXAMINING SPANISH SALVAGE OF THE 1622, 1715, AND 1733 PLATE FLEETS
Cabading, Amber Lynn
From the 16th to the 18th century, Spain dominated the transatlantic trading empire, though not without cost. The Spanish Plate Fleets lost off the coast of Florida have been the subject of much treasure hunting and archaeological interest. The fleets evoke a romantic tale of historical international trade, colonialism, piracy, devastating tragedy, and insight into the economy of the Spanish empire and maritime culture of the 18th century (Florida’s Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources [BAR, DHR] 2020). After each wrecking event, Spanish authorities extensively salvaged the shipwreck sites for several years, producing a healthy historical record. Unfortunately, modern treasure hunters were the first to relocate the 1715 and 1733 fleet wrecks, and consequently, heavily impacted the sites; archaeologists have documented what remains. Despite the well-documented history of both fleets, little research has focused on the salvage camps and the historic salvage efforts associated with the 1622, 1715, and 1733 Plate Fleet disasters. Using a maritime cultural landscape (MCL) theoretical framework, this thesis seeks to understand the cultural processes and behaviors involved with the Plate Fleet shipwrecks and salvage operations. This thesis also will offer analysis informed by Critical Race Theory to uncover the hidden stories and agency of the enslaved persons conducting the dangerous salvage operations under the close watch of Spanish admiralty agents. Critical Race Theory challenges the dominant ideology (in this race-based slavery) by “giving voice” to people who otherwise are silenced by racist oppression. Both theoretical approaches will help understand the broader maritime cultural landscape, or the interaction between human processes and the maritime environment on both land and underwater, of the 18th century. Research into the lives of the salvagers can add another dimension to the study of 18th century Spanish colonialism, exploration, and commerce. An ESRI Story Map, designed as a public outreach product, will describe, and illuminate the salvage history of the Spanish Plate Fleets. By employing techniques drawn from critical race theory and MCL this thesis seeks to extrapolate information pertaining to the Spanish salvage industry and the people participating in the salvage operations.
Cabading, Amber Lynn. (April 2022). AFTER WRECKING: EXAMINING SPANISH SALVAGE OF THE 1622, 1715, AND 1733 PLATE FLEETS (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/10644.)
Cabading, Amber Lynn. AFTER WRECKING: EXAMINING SPANISH SALVAGE OF THE 1622, 1715, AND 1733 PLATE FLEETS. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, April 2022. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/10644. September 30, 2023.
Cabading, Amber Lynn, “AFTER WRECKING: EXAMINING SPANISH SALVAGE OF THE 1622, 1715, AND 1733 PLATE FLEETS” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, April 2022).
Cabading, Amber Lynn. AFTER WRECKING: EXAMINING SPANISH SALVAGE OF THE 1622, 1715, AND 1733 PLATE FLEETS [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; April 2022.
East Carolina University