History in the depths of the Cuban seas

History in the depths of the Cuban seas

Heritage & Traditions


Beyond the beauty of the Cuban seabed in its natural state, which on the north coast, for example, is located near the largest coral reef on the planet, the seabed around the archipelago treasures a lot of history.

The natural conditions of the Caribbean Sea typical of the tropics, such as the occurrence of storms and dangerous low sea beds, together with the proliferation of pirates and corsairs between the 15th and 19th centuries, make this region one of the richest in the world in terms of historical wrecks.

Cuba in particular has been called the Paradise of Underwater Archaeology, because on its seabed there is a whole “naval cemetery”, in which, according to historical calculations, some 2,000 sunken vessels rest.

Only a few have been discovered and explored, such as the 300-ton merchant ship Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which in 1590 fought against an English corsair and sank north of Pinar del Río.

Another of these specimens is the one named Our Lady of Las Mercedes, Admiral ship of the Armada of Galleons on Firm Land, with 900 tons and 46 guns, which, due to navigation errors, ran aground in a shoal near the coast. east of the Morro de La Habana castle.

The 935 tonne Sánchez Barcáiztegui cruise ship, rammed by a French steam-powered ship at the mouth of the Morro of Havana, in 1895, has also been explored.

It is known that in the Canarreos archipelago area, south of Pinar del Río, Havana and Matanzas, there are about 200 shipwrecks still not located. On the other hand, the version is taken for certain that in the surroundings of the keys of Jardines de la Reina, on the south coast of Camagüey, there are the remains of 13 ships of the English war fleet, sunk there in 1780 during a hurricane.

According to other investigations, between Cayo Rosario and Cayo Largo, in the waters south of Cuba, there is a ship of the New Spain Fleet, sunk in that area when it collided with the reefs, when it was sailing around Cuba in 1583.However, the excellence of this "naval cemetery" seems to be found 40 miles west of Cayo Largo, where one of the richest underwater archaeological sites has been detected, known as Sambo Head. On that sea floor there is a large number of pieces from the 17th to the 19th centuries, among which are cannons, anchors, projectiles, iron howitzers and chains, all jealously guarded in an almost virgin area.