Time and Place


     The wreck of El Nuevo Constante lies off the coast of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, in the Gulf of Mexico. The site is only a mile from the coast, in less than 20 feet of water. Nearby are lakes and bayous with the name "Constance," the English form of Constante. These place names confirmed the name of the ship.


     In the first week of September 1766, a hurricane blew the Spanish ship aground. It was in a group of ships that was sailing from Veracruz, Mexico, to Cadiz, Spain. El Nuevo Constante was a merchant ship that carried a load of products from Mexico. All of the people on the ship made it safely to land, but the cargo had to be rescued. The Spanish government in Louisiana began immediate salvage of the ship. This work to save and move cargo lasted for two months, but the effort was unable to recover everything from the wreck.


     More than 200 years later, Curtis Blume found the ship when he caught several large ingots of copper in his shrimp nets. He and associates later dug on the wreck with a dredge. They removed ballast stones and many other artifacts. However, they soon realized the importance of the ship and contacted the state.

(Left) Some ballast stones from El Nuevo Constante. Thousands of ballast stones were often used to weigh down the bottom of a ship. Weight at the bottom helped prevent ships from tipping over during big storms.



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