Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Today in the Spanish Armada

In the summer of 1588, England was able to hold off, with little loss of ship or man, an attack from the vaunted Spanish Armada. During the Armada's retreat home a good chunk of the fleet, having miscalculated their position, crashed disastrously into the coast of Ireland. Thus began England's rise and Spain's long national decline.

The Spanish Armada does still exist. A continuity fueled largely by the Spanish word for Navy more or less being Armada.

Well today was the biggest day the Spanish Armada has had in decades -- if not centuries -- as its warships engaged the Odyssey Explorer, a privately owned American treasure hunting ship.

Back in May, the Odyssey Explorer discovered 500 million dollars worth of sunken treasure. A booty which may partially belong to Democratic presidential candidate and humble country lawyer John Edwards.

The Spanish government has always suspected -- and the treasure hunters don't deny -- the silver coins are of Spanish origin. For that reason Spain claims the coins, although it is unclear what nation possessed them when the ship sank. Odyssey Maritime Exploration has contributed to this mystery by refusing to reveal the location of the find -- further enraging the Spanish government.

Spain was finally able to catch the Odyssey Explorer in Spanish waters, boarding the ship under the threat of deadly force. The ship was searched and the captain briefly detained, but there isn't a whole lot more the Spanish can do since, obviously, the coins weren't hidden in the ship. And, obviously, Spain can't inflict old-fashioned maritime justice onto the crew of an American owned vessel.

While it appears the Odyssey Explorer has effectively stood its ground against the once proud Spanish Armada, the treasure hunters should consider this: After England's glorious and seemingly painless victory in that fateful summer of 1588, most of its sailors ended up dying of typhus and dysentery.


Anonymous said...

I think you've found your Idle Threat of the Week a few days early

JT said...

Good point. The panel of judges will not be happy that I used it up.