Hurricane Michael hit Florida's northwestern coast with a strength unparalleled in the history of the region. This has meant devastation for many in the region. Hurricanes can often bring unexpected things with them, and Michael has dredged up a part of Floridian history: ships wrecked in 1899 have been unearthed by the storm.
“They’ve been mostly stationary since 1899 when they were wrecked in a hurricane,” says Florida Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell, speaking to the Tallahassee Democrat. “From time to time, some parts of the site have become exposed.”
Ships wrecked on Dog Island in 1899 unearthed by Hurricane Michael https://t.co/MAsFKAB79U- Tallahassee Democrat (@TDOnline) October 20, 2018
What knocked the ship underseas back then? Another hurricane. Known as the Carabelle Hurricane after the Floridian town it destroyed, the Category 2 storm ran through a cycle that wouldn't sound out of place in today's news: It was first detected near the Dominican Republic, briefly hit the Florida Keys, and entered the Gulf of Mexico in late July.
As it hit the panhandle in early August, "the city of Carrabelle was almost completely wiped from the map," according to the Florida Historical Society. "At least 57 vessels were destroyed, and the small communities of Lanark, St. Teresa and McIntyre also suffered significant damage."
The most famous of these ships was the HMS Fox, a footnote in the early, tense history of England and America. Still hopeful to weaken the new American state, American-born Loyalist William August Bowles tried to convince the Native Seminole tribes of Florida to rise up against America, hoped to halt American expansion, provide a safe refuge for Natives who had been persecuted by the new country, and ultimately earn the favor of King George III. His plan was thwarted in part by the Carrabelle Hurricane's destruction of the Fox, which carried many of his supplies. This forced Bowles to raid Spanish ships for supplies, which led to his capture and eventual death in jail.
There have been several attempts to find the Fox, but all have come up empty to this point and while there is yet to be any proof that the uncovered ship is the Fox, it's a possibility. As for now, the state has no plans to further explore the site. After all, there's plenty of rebuilding work to be done.
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