Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Spanish: “Our Lady of the (Immaculate) Conception”) was a 120-ton Spanish galleon that sailed the Peru–Panama trading route during the 16th century. This ship has earned a place in maritime history not only by virtue of being Sir Francis Drake’s most famous prize, but also because of her colorful nickname, Cagafuego (“fireshitter”)
At the helm of his ship Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake had slipped into the Pacific Ocean via the strait of Magellan in 1578 without the knowledge of the Spanish authorities in South America. Privateers and pirates were common during the 16th century throughout the Spanish Main but were unheard of in the Pacific. Accordingly, the South American settlements were not prepared for the attack of “el Draque” (Spanish pronunciation of Sir Francis’ last name), as Drake was to be known to his Spanish victims. During this trip, Drake pillaged El Callao (Peru’s main port) and was able to gather information regarding the treasure ship Cagafuego, which was sailing toward Panama laden with silver and jewels.
Golden Hind caught up with Cagafuego on 1 March 1579, in the vicinity of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Since it was the middle of the day and Drake did not want to arouse suspicions by reducing sails, he trailed some wine caskets behind Golden Hind to slow her progress and allow enough time for night to fall. In the early evening, after disguising Golden Hind as a merchantman, Drake finally came alongside his target and, when the Spanish captain San Juan de Antón refused to surrender, opened fire.
Golden Hind‘s first broadside took off Cagafuego‘s mizzenmast. When the English sailors opened fire with muskets and crossbows, Golden Hind came alongside with a boarding party. Since they were not expecting English ships to be in the Pacific, Cagafuego‘s crew was taken completely by surprise and surrendered quickly and without much resistance. Once in control of the galleon, Drake brought both ships to a secluded stretch of coastline and over the course of the next six days unloaded the treasure.
The vessel was wrecked in 1638 in severe weather off the island of Saipan while traveling from Manila to Acapulco laden with Cambodian ivory, Chinese silks and rugs, cotton from India, camphor from Borneo, spices from the Spice Islands, and precious jewels from Siam, Burma, and Ceylon. All of the 400 souls aboard her perished, and her ballast and treasures were lost to the sea.
Dusek lovingly recreates the Nuestra Senora in this highly detailed wooden model ship kit. Scale: 1/72 | Length: 905 mm | Width: 415mm | Height: 815mm.