"The Shipwreck that changed the World"
Denomination: 1/2 Reale
Weight: 1.3 grams
History: This historic artifact was recovered from the Spanish Brigantine of War "El Cazador" (The Hunter) which was lost with all hands in stormy winter seas in the Gulf of Mexico, in January of 1784.
In 1762, Spain received Louisiana (which ran from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, comprising nearly a million square miles) from France as a result of the Seven Year War.
In late 1783, King Carolus III ordered Captain Gabriel de Campos y Pineda to Veracruz, Mexico. The El Cazador departed Veracruz for New Orleans on the 11th of January, 1784, carrying 450,000 pesos, never to be heard from again.
By 1800, Spain could no longer control colonial Louisiana, and was forced to cede it back to France. In 1803, the U.S. purchased Louisiana from Napoleon's France, thus doubling the size of the United States.