A treasure of thousands of valuable Spanish military relics, and additional thousands of Spanish silver coinsall now almost three-quarters of a century old, lies waiting in a treasure wreck eight miles off the northwestern shores of Cuba.
The treasure, which was lost along with 228 lives when the Spanish steamer Triton ran aground and subsequently sank between the towns of Dominica and Mariel, has been waiting since October 19, 1897. As Americans are concerned, it probably must wait for an improvement in relations between the two countries.
It was during the period of strained relations between Spain and America preceding the Spanish-American War of 1898 that the Triton went down. The Spanish authorities had loaded the coastwise steamer with 9,300 army rifles and other supplies at Havana, bound for Bahia Honda, a city on the province of Pinar del Rio. The distribution of arms had been prompted by Cuban unrest under Spanish authority and the rumors and threats of intervention by outsiders, namely Americans.
Of the 230 persons aboard the Triton, including civilian passengers and soldiers, only two lives were known to have been saved. And with the ship, 31,660 silver coins together with an inestimable hoard of personal valuables of those aboard went to the bottom.
With American aid, Cubans won their independence in the Spanish-American War that followed. Many years have gone by since then, but through all that has happened in Cuba, the Tritons treasure has remained lost.