Digital Library

Santa Margarita (1601)

Filipe Castro


Country: Northern Mariana Islands

Place: Rota, near Teteto village.


Dated: 1601

Description of Wreck

Santa Margarita left Manila for Acapulco in 1600 and sunk in early 1601 due to bad weather off the northwest coast of Rota Island, in the Mariana Islands. The ship was salvaged by the local Chamorro natives, who rescued around thirty survivors.


Santa Margarita was found perhaps in 1997, in shallow water by a treasure hunting company – IOTA Partners – allegedly after two years of surveying work. IOTA partners claim to have spent millions of dollars in this treasure hunting project, starting in 1995 and the early 2000s, but there is no news of any treasure found, remaining on the bottom. Pictures of ivory artifacts and broken porcelain have occasionally surfaced on the internet, but to our knowledge no archaeological information has been published.


Deposa, Moneth G., “Shipwreck salvage company destroys coral reef off Rota,”
SAIPAN, CNMI (10 Nov 2006) –, Accessed in April 2020.