El Nuevo Constante carried 1,032 short logs of logwood, weighing 40,000 pounds. The complete shipment was for the Casa de ContrataciĆ³n, the House of Trade. This was the Spanish government body that regulated trade with the New World.


     The manifest listed 2,659 pounds of cacao (chocolate beans) on the ship. It also noted one box of processed chocolate. Impressions and molds of cacao beans are in concretions from the wreck. Also in the cargo were 253,600 vanilla beans, which were used to flavor chocolate. These vanilla beans weighed about 4,900 pounds. Because of the large amount, the vanilla beans were the second most valuable cargo item on board, next to the silver coins. The Spanish salvaged most of these after the hurricane. Archaeologists did not find any vanilla beans on the wreck.


     El Nuevo Constante carried 60,520 pounds of Ipomea purga, a plant used as medicine. This was the largest amount of any cargo item. Also on board were 6,959 pounds of zebadilla, a plant from Central and South America. It had many uses in Europe. It was a laxative, an insecticide, a treatment for arthritic rheumatism, and snuff. No remains of either of these plants were found at the site of the wreck. The Spanish salvaged a small portion of them, and the rest probably decayed.


     Four olive jars of balsam, which weighed a total of 192 pounds, were on El Nuevo Constante. Balsam was a tree resin used in medicines and perfumes. Copal, also a tree resin, was an ingredient of varnish and incense. One box of copal, weighing 125 pounds, was on the ship. The Spanish saved the copal, which had one-quarter of its original value when it finally reached Cadiz, Spain. Neither the Spanish nor the archaeologists recovered any of the balsam.

(Above) Archaeologists did not find any actual chocolate beans in the wreck. Instead, they found the imprints of these beans in concretions, like the one above.



(Above) Logwood.

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