From the San Pedro, 1596

This indigenous combat weapon, capable of causing massive head trauma, is thought to be from the coast of Guiana and represents early contact between Europeans and indigenous South Americans. Indigenous weapons were highly prized in Western Europe for their rarity and exoticism and were often sent back with returning European gold and trading fleets.

The San Pedro wrecked on Bermuda’s reefs in 1596 while homeward-bound from Cartagena, Columbia to Cádiz, Spain. The 11-year old, 350-ton nao was sailing in the Nueva Espana Fleet, one of two Spanish fleets carrying most of Spain’s trade with the Americas, and was heavily armed. Her passengers and precious cargo included gold, silver, jewelry, and other New World products and souvenirs.

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