Horn icon. This link bypasses navigation taking you directly to the contents of this page.

 

Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Maps

Readings

Images

Activities

Table of
Contents




About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files, "Urca de Lima" and "San Pedro," and other materials on the Spanish treasure fleets. The lesson plan was written by Brenda K. Olio, former Teaching with Historic Places historian, and edited by staff of the Teaching with Historic Places program and the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.

This lesson was made possible by the Spanish Embassy in the United States and the Spain-USA Foundation, who are seeking to better educate the American public about Spanish maritime heritage in North America. The lesson grew out of a desire on the part of both the Embassy and the National Park Service to inform the public both about underwater Spanish patrimony in the U.S. and also about the importance of preserving and protecting submerged cultural resources. The staff of the National Park Service Archeology Program provided invaluable assistance in securing this partnership.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on Spanish colonization of the Americas, transatlantic trade and commerce in the colonial period, or maritime history.
Time period: Mid 16th–early 18th centuries
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To explain how Spain created a New World empire based on trade routes to the Americas
2) To describe the convoy system Spain used over the course of three centuries to collect treasure and native products from the Americas
3) To describe the wrecks of the 1715 and 1733 treasure fleets and consider how these disasters impacted Spain
4) To discuss the importance of protecting resources such as the Urca de Lima and San Pedro wreck sites
5) To research historic sites in their own community and compare their preservation to those of underwater resources

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) two maps showing the routes of the treasure fleets and the locations of the 1715 and 1733 shipwrecks;
2) four readings on the Spanish treasure fleet system and the wreck of the 1715 and 1733 fleets;
3) two conjectural paintings of the Urca de Lima and the San Pedro;
4) two diagrams of the wreck sites;
5) two photographs of the wreck sites today.

Visiting the site
The Urca de Lima wreck site, a Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve, is located in St. Lucie County, Florida. Follow Highway A1A north from the Ft. Pierce Inlet to Pepper Beach Park. Walk northward along the beach approximately 1,000 yards from the park boundary. The wreck site lies on the first offshore reef in 10-15 feet of water, about 200 yards from shore. The site includes a 100 ft x 50 ft ballast mound, hull timbers, five replica cement cannons, an iron anchor from one of the 1715 ships, one marker buoy, three mooring buoys, and a plaque. The site is open to the public year round, free of charge. For more information visit Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs' web page on the Urca de Lima.

The San Pedro wreck site, a Florida State Park and Underwater Archaeological Preserve, lies in 18-20 feet of water south of Indian Key near Islamorada in Monroe County, Florida. The site includes a ballast mound about 90 feet long by 30 feet wide, hull timbers, seven replica cement cannons, an iron anchor from one of the 1733 wrecks, one marker buoy, five mooring buoys, and a plaque. The site is open to the public year round, free of charge. For more information, visit Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs' web page on the San Pedro.

 

Continue

Comments or Questions

TCP
National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.