One of the most deadly places in the Costa da Morte is the area between Boi Point and Cagada Point, that has witnessed eight shipwrecks with 245 casualties. The worst tragedy was the Serpent’s on the night of November 10, 1890.
The battleship had departed two days earlier from Plymouth to Sierra Leone. It sailed too close to shore, and with very little light coming from the Vilán lighthouse, it ran aground on the place now called “the Serpent’s shallows”. The ropes broke against the rocks. Heavy waves swept across the deck. A heartbreaking “Every man for himself!” was heard.
Only 3 of the 175 crewmembers survived. The priest of Xaviña mobilized residents to bury the 172 bodies in this landmark place. In the inner enclosure are the remains of the captain and officers, and in the outer enclosure, those of sailors.
In the years following the shipwreck, a British Navy ship came here to cast a wreath into the waters, while battleships fired cannon salutes.
The English Cemetery is part of the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe recognized, like the Camino de Santiago, as an European Cultural Route.
From here, visitors can see the incomparable view of Monte Branco, the highest climbing dune in Galicia, and at its base, the largest reserve of caramiñas, a protected plant giving its name to the municipality of Camariñas.