Huerto, Francisco Del
HUERTO, FRANCISCO DEL (?–?). Francisco del Huerto of Seville, Spain, was master of the ship San Esteban, one of three vessels involved in the Padre Island Spanish shipwrecks of 1554. Most of the estimated 300 persons on the three ships were slain by Indians while trying to reach Pánuco. Huerto, however, survived, although how he escaped the fate of the others is left to conjecture. He was a seasoned mariner, the veteran of several ocean crossings with the Spanish Indies fleet. As a shipmaster, he sailed to South and Central America with the Indies fleet each year from 1547 to 1550. He returned on the San Esteban to Seville on June 9, 1551, and, on November 4, 1552, sailed out of the Guadalquivir River, Spain, on the fateful voyage. On April 9, 1554, in the company of four other ships, the San Esteban set out on the homeward course from Veracruz, Mexico, laden with more than twenty tons of precious metals-worth millions of dollars on today's market-as well as other cargo. Twenty days later three of the ships, including Huerto's San Esteban, were driven by a storm onto Padre Island.