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February 22, 2024
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‘Your wife wants to see you’: 18th-century Spanish letters seized at sea by British published online

Correspondence taken from 130 captured ships reveal details of the stories of seafarers and their families in the 1700s

A letter from a reproachful wife to the husband who seemingly abandoned her after travelling to the Americas, which remained unopened for nearly 300 years, is among thousands of papers from 18th-century Spanish ships captured by the British that are now being made available online.

Francisca Muñoz in Seville wrote to her husband, Miguel Atocha, in Mexico on 22 January 1747. The letter was among 100 others from Spanish women to their husbands detailing the emotional and economic challenges faced in their partners’ absences, and found on La Ninfa, a registered ship trading between Cádiz and Veracruz, Mexico that was captured by the notorious British privateer squadron known as the “Royal Family”.

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