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start:history:beeswax_wreck

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The Beeswax wreck

The beeswax wreck is an as-yet-undiscovered shipwreck which is believed to be located somewhere off the coast of the U.S. state of Oregon, near the mouth of the Nehalem River in Tillamook County. The ship, thought to be a Spanish Manila galleon that was wrecked in the late 1600s, was evidently carrying a large cargo of beeswax, lumps of which have been found scattered along Oregon's north coast for at least two centuries.

“The earliest written reference to the wreck dates from 1813, when fur trader Alexander Henry, of Astoria, noted that the local Clatsop tribe had “great quantities of beeswax” to trade, which they told him had come from a shipwreck near Nehalem Bay. Chunks of beeswax continued to be discovered along the shoreline throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, leading to much speculation about its origin. In the early 1900s, some scientists suggested, erroneously, that the substance was in fact a mineral residue left behind by petroleum which had been forced up to the surface from some underground reservoir – at least one drilling project was undertaken in the area on the basis of this theory.”

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