Members of the Mel Fisher family, City officials and the community gathered today to commemorate the sinking of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and the entire 1622 fleet with the unveiling of a plaque. On this day, 400 years ago, 260 souls were lost in a raging hurricane. Also lost were 40 tons of gold, silver, and copper artifacts – until the persevering Mel Fisher located wreck in 1985.
Prior to the discovery, the treasure hunter had secured ownership of the wreck through the courts. He and his wife founded the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, a non-profit organization to support a collection of artifacts from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha and its sister ship, the Santa Margarita in perpetuity.
The plaque is located at Mallory Square alongside a time capsule that commemorates the 200th anniversary of the founding of Key West.
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