My friend Ercilio Vento Canosa, the historian for the Cuban port city Matanzas, researched and wrote a remarkably factual book about a history changing event that happened in the Bay of Matanzas, Cuba in 1628: The Capture of the Spanish Silver Fleet by Dutch privateer admiral Piet Hein. Hein captured 11,509,524 guilders of booty in gold, silver, and other expensive trade goods, such as indigo and cochineal, without bloodshed. That is the equivalent of more than 1 billion dollars today. The Dutch did not take prisoners: they gave the Spanish crews ample supplies for a march to Havana. The released were surprised to hear the admiral personally giving them directions in fluent Spanish Hein after all was well acquainted with the region as he had been confined to it during his internment after 1603. The capture of the treasure fleet was the Dutch West India Company’s greatest victory in the Caribbean. Piet Hein and his ships had maneuvered the Spanish Silver Fleet into a position with no way out of the Bay. A magnificent example of maritime strategy. The treasure he took of the Spanish ships financed the Dutch into winning the 80 year war with Spain and becoming a world power on the oceans. This fascinating recount of what actually happened in the Bay of Matanzas, is supported by the author’s methodical research.He assisted French explorer Jacques Cousteau in 1986 in his submarine efforts to find more answers in the Bay of Matanzas, as rumors emerged that not all treasures have been found. There is also word that film maker James Cameron of Titanic fame is looking at mounting another expedition. We are currently also translating this work into English and Dutch, which should be available by early 2018.Editor’s Note: The entire proceeds minus expenses from the sales of this work will go to Hurricane Irma relief for the City ofMatanzas and the nearby Varadero Peninsula.
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