El Salvador alias El Henrique was a Spanish treasure ship that ran aground near present-day Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina during a hurricane in August 1750. She was traveling with six other Spanish merchantmen including the Nuestra Señora De Soledad which went ashore near present-day Core Banks, NC and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe which went ashore near present-day Ocracoke, NC.[1]

Bandera de España 1701-1760.svgSpain
Name: El Salvador
Out of service: August 29, 1750
Fate: Run aground in 1750 near Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina (34°41′44″N 76°41′20″W)
Silver 8 real coin of Philip V of Spain, 1739
"Both (are) one, Mexico [City Mint], 1739"
Displays two hemispheres of a world map, crowned between the Pillars of Hercules adorned with the PLVS VLTR[A] motto.
"Philip V, by the Grace of God, King of the Spains & the Indies"
Displays the arms of Castile and León with Granada in base & an inescutcheon of Anjou.

The merchant ship El Salvador sailed from Cartagena, Colombia for Cadiz, Spain loaded with a cargo of gold and silver where she was part of the Spanish treasure fleet, a convoy system adopted by the Spanish Empire from 1566 to 1790.[2] After taking on supplies in Havana, Cuba the heavily laden El Salvador headed for Cadiz with six other Spanish ships on August 7, 1750. Around noon on August 25 the El Salvador and the six other vessels in the fleet were caught in a hurricane Northeast of present-day Cape Canaveral, Florida. The storm forced the ships North along the Gulf Stream where the El Salvador, Soledad and Guadalupe were driven ashore along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Reports found in the Spanish archives indicate that El Salvador was carrying 240,000 pesos in registered Spanish Treasury funds, made up of four chests of gold coins and sixteen chests of silver coins of varying denominations, plus 50,000 pesos in commercial funds.[3] Only four members of the crew survived the wrecking. According to a letter written to North Carolina Gov. Gabriel Johnston in September 1750, the ship was badly broken up and buried in several feet of sand with only the rigging still visible above the water.[4]

Archival documents confirm that most of the treasure aboard the other Spanish ships was salvaged but that El Salvador’s cargo of gold and silver was never recovered. During the storm she is believed to have rolled over the bar, broken apart and was soon buried in the sand. Currently Intersal, Inc., a Florida-based company, holds an exclusive permit issued by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) which grants the company the right to search for El Salvador. The permit allows the company to retain 75% of all treasure and cargo it recovers from the El Salvador site with the remaining 25% going to the State of North Carolina.[5][6]


  1. ^ http://northcarolinashipwrecks.blogspot.com/2012/05/dangerous-shoals.html
  2. ^ Marx, Robert: The treasure fleets of the Spanish Main. World Pub. Co., 1968
  3. ^ "Spanish Treasure on the Outer Banks". Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  4. ^ Dukes, Tyler (14 June 2015). "Off North Carolina coast, lure of sunken treasure fades". WRAL-TV. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  5. ^ "El Salvador". Intersal, Inc.
  6. ^ "Mediated Settlement Agreement". Scribd.com.

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