"This vessel had recently arrived from the Spanish Main"

Spanish treasurer fleet (1593)
Public DomainSpanish treasurer fleet (1593) - Credit: Theodor de Bry
During the period of the Spanish New World Empire, the Spanish Main was the name for the crescent of land that encircled the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, all of which was then under the country’s colonial rule. With all the other European powers united in their efforts to wrest dominance from their mightiest rival, Spanish ships and possessions were particularly prone to privateer pillaging. They were under especial threat from England, which concentrated its efforts on capturing the treasure fleets — convoys ferrying luxurious cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and spices back to Spain — that regularly toured these waters. 

1732 map of the Spanish Main
Public Domain1732 map of the Spanish Main - Credit: Herman Moll