The mysterious Manilla wreck sits in around ten to fifteen ft of water on the north-eastern reefs of Bermuda. Artefacts recovered from her include tiny glass trade beads, stone ginger beer bottles, pottery and glassware and a quantity of manillas, bronze bangles produced in Europe and used as currency to purchase slaves from African chieftans.
Sometimes called the ‘Ginger Beer Bottle’ wreck, the name of the ship, the exact date of the disaster and the fate of the crew have never been determined. All that is known for certain is that it is the remains of a Dutchman that was destroyed in Bermuda’s treacherous waters in the mid-eighteenth century.
According to historical records, a Dutch or Danish ship ran aground in the area in 1753 and some believe that this is the Manilla wreck. Others think that it is an English Merchantman, the Lord Frederick, that was en route from the Clyde in Scotland to Charleston, South Carolina when she met with disaster. However, there are lots of large iron guns embedded in the reef around the ship and these, along with other items found, led many to claim that the Manilla was involved in the slave trade, an armed escort rather than a carrier of slave cargo, and was returning to Holland from the West Indies before proceeding to West Africa.