Mel Fisher (August 21, 1922 – December 19, 1998) was an American treasure hunter best known for finding the wreck of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Events 1192 - Minamoto Yoritomo becomes Seii Tai Shōgun and the De facto ruler of Japan. Year 1922 ( MCMXXII) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. Events 324 - Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor. Year 1998 ( MCMXCVIII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar) The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. A galleon was a large multi-decked Sailing ship used primarily by the nations of Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries Nuestra Señora de Atocha ("Our Lady of Atocha" was the most famous of a fleet of Spanish ships that sank in 1622 off the Florida Keys He discovered the wreck July 20, 1985. Events 1304 - Wars of Scottish Independence: Fall of Stirling Castle - King Edward I of England takes the last rebel stronghold Year 1985 ( MCMLXXXV) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link displays 1985 Gregorian calendar) The estimated $450 million cache recovered, known as "The Atocha Motherlode," included 40 tons of gold and silver and some 100,000 Spanish silver coins known as "Pieces of Eight", gold coins, Colombian emeralds, golden and silver artifacts and 1000 silver bars. Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Gold (ˈɡoʊld is a Chemical element with the symbol Au (from its Latin name aurum) and Atomic number 79 Colombia (kəˈlʌmbɪə officially the Republic of Colombia () is a country in northwestern South America. Emeralds are a variety of the Mineral Beryl (Be3Al2(SiO36 colored Green by trace amounts Large as it was, this was only roughly half of the treasure that went down with the Atocha. Still missing are 300 silver bars and 8 bronze cannons, among other things. | NOTE Throughout this article "cannon" is used as BOTH the || singular and plural Fisher's company, Salvors Inc. , found remains of several shipwrecks in Florida waters, in addition to the Atocha, which include the sister galleon to the Atocha the Santa Margarita (both sunk in 1622). Florida ( is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States, bordering Alabama to the northwest and Georgia to the The company also found the remains of a slave ship known as the Henrietta Marie. The Henrietta Marie was one of the many Slave ships that carried Slaves to what is now the United States and was named for Queen Henrietta Maria The site of the wreckage of the Atocha, now referred to as "the Bank of Spain", is still being worked and treasures are slowly "floating" to the surface. Fisher was a a former Indiana chicken farmer who struggled through decades of hard times treasure hunting in the Florida Keys. The State of Indiana ( was the 19th US state admitted into the union The Florida Keys are an Archipelago of about 1700 islands in the southeast United States. His confidence in finding the treasure was exhibited in his motto Today is the Day.
The treasure hunt activities by Fisher and other commercial enterprises lead to heavy criticism from underwater archaeologists, who stressed that underwater cultural heritage including ancient shipwrecks is not “treasure”, but “cultural heritage”. The effort to better protect submerged archaeological sites led finally to the adoption of the UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.