CABRA-born historian Antonio Moreno Hurtado boasts a career spanning 35 years documenting the history of his town.
Indeed, he has published more than a dozen books on Cabra.
But it is his crucial role in the battle between Spain and the US ‘treasure hunt’ company Odyssey that has won him his most widespread recognition.
For thanks to his work, it was ruled last week, that the US firm must return to Spain a hoard of over 590,000 gold and silver coins minted in Peru.
In August 2009, the historian chanced upon documents that proved key to the whole case regarding the frigate Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, which sunk off the Algarve in 1804.
While sifting through old naval records in research for a book, he discovered a government order dated from 1802 which commanded the Mercedes to bring money back from the Americas.
The seven documents proved that the Mercedes, which was sunk by the British Navy, was travelling under the orders of the crown and not on a commercial voyage as argued by the Florida-based salvage company.
Armed with these documents Spain has now won the historic victory.
A three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals in Atlanta has sided with Spain and ruled that the treasure salvaged by Odyssey in 2007 should be handed back to the Iberian nation.
And it is in no small part thanks to Moreno.
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