This Spanish merchant ship was one of a fleet of vessels traveling from Colombia to Spain when it was pushed ashore between North Carolina and Maryland during the August 1750 storm. Some historical references say the El Salvador went down near Topsail Inlet (Beaufort Inlet was known as Old Topsail Inlet at the time), and other accounts put the wreck near Cape Lookout. The other ships sustained varying degrees of damage, but their crews and most of their treasures were saved.
According to historical records the El Salvador was carrying 16 chests of silver and four of gold when she went down in the area of Cape Lookout during a 1750 hurricane. A conservative estimate would put the value at $124 million in today’s money. That makes the El Salvador one of the richest shipwrecks to be found along the American East Coast.