Hannah Smart and the Real Search for the Queen's Jewels

Hannah Smart and the Real Search for the Queen's Jewels

Posted on October 6 by Melody Fitzpatrick
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In her third adventure, In Over Her Head, Hannah Smart sets sail for the Treasure Coast, where she and a team of treasure hunters search for long lost riches, hidden for centuries under the sea. 

But what is this treasure and how did it get there in the first place? 

Early in the book, Patrice de la Fontaine (the flamboyant and high-strung director of Teenage Treasure Hunters) shares the story of The Queen’s Jewels, spinning a wild tale of intrigue, greed, and death.

Although his version of the story didn’t actually happen, it’s closely based on a fascinating, and very real series of events, which came to a horrible end over three hundred years ago.

This is how the true story went down …

In 1700, when the King of Spain died, Philip V of France (his closest relative) took the throne.  

One year into his reign, King Philip V, a teenager at the time, needed a bride. He married thirteen-year-old Princess Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy.

Sadly, thirteen years later, she died of tuberculosis. The king was devastated. Making matters worse, his country was on the brink of bankruptcy after battling a thirteen-year-long war with the English and the Dutch. The king sent a convoy of ships to the New World with orders to bring back gold, silver and other treasures. 

When the time came for the king to take a new bride, he chose The Duchess of Parma, Elizabeth Farnese. She agreed to marry him, but would not promise him any children until she was presented with a very generous dowry of rare and exquisite jewels.

Urgent word was sent to the New World to gather a magnificent collection of treasures for his demanding new bride. This last minute request held up the convoy, ultimately putting them smack dab in the middle of a pathway to disaster.

On July 24, 1715 twelve ships filled with treasures left Havana, Cuba, each bound for Spain. The convoy, a.k.a. The Silver Plate Fleet, was enjoying fine weather until the evening of July 30, when a violent hurricane stuck off the east coast of Florida.  Only one of these treasure-laden vessels escaped the storm’s unmerciful fury; the other eleven were driven onto shallow reefs along the coast, and sank. Massive amounts of treasure, including the Queen’s Jewels, and over one thousand souls were lost that day.

Despite not receiving her dowry of jewels, King Philip V’s new bride eventually gave in, and together they had seven children.

It’s said that approximately 550 million dollars in treasure is still scattered along the Florida coast, and for years, treasure hunters have been searching tirelessly to find it. 

 

You can even follow their exciting progress on the 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC Facebook page: 

Melody Fitzpatrick

Posted by Dundurn Guest on January 20, 2015
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Melody Fitzpatrick

Melody Fitzpatrick is the author of the Hannah Smart series. When she’s not busy dreaming up stories, she is an educational program assistant in the public school system, helping kids discover their amazing inner awesomeness. Melody lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia.