Emanuel Point Shipwreck Site
While trying to colonize this part of modern-day Florida in 1599, Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano's expedition was hit by a hurricane on this spot. After the hurricane moved on, Luna lost at least six vessels. In 1992, a Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research team discovered one vessel labelled as Emanuel Point I. In 2006 and about 1,320 feet away from Emanuel Point I, a second vessel was found. This second discovery benefited by a $203,368 grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. A team led by graduate student Jim Collis from the University of West Florida (UWF) Division of Anthropology and Archaeology made the most recent discovery. Work on these vessels continue today as other vessels are still sought after.
Backstory and Context
Arriving on August 13 at Pensacola Bay, Luna and his men made landfall the next. For the next few weeks, he dispatched one vessel to New Spain to announce their arrival to the bay, two others were prepared for a voyage to Spain and foraging and exploring parties were sent out. By September 19, and before the remaining vessels could be successfully unloaded, a hurricane struck. It was recorded that five of the vessels sunk with one pushed into a grove further inland. From the day the hurricane struck up to April of 1560, Luna was forced to leave (although he left some people at Emanuel Point) the area for supplies and help, given that he could find no local Indians where he had landed. He went west to modern-day Alabama, found some Indians and named this smaller settlement Santa Cruz. Viceroy Coronado sent two relief ships to Luna, however those supplies only lasted for a few months and Luna also barely avoided a conflict with another set of Indians as Luna pushed further inland. Luna was recalled in January of 1561.
A couple months later, Luna joined an expedition though Cuba and Santa Elena. All the while the Emanuel Point settlement last a few more months before they finally left. This area would not see any more European settlers until 1698 when another Spanish group arrived.
After spending years searching for Luna's sunken vessels, one was finally discovered in 1992 by a Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research team, followed by a second discovery in 2006 made by a team led by graduate student Jim Collis from the UWF Division of Anthropology and Archaeology. Work continues to this day.