Written by 12:53 PM Staff's Picks, Travel

A 17th Century Warship that Sank- Vasa

I’m pretty sure that you guys have heard about Titanic, that ship was built in a precise manner so that it couldn’t sink but it did. We were amazed back then that such a fabulous barge how could it sink?

To amaze y’all with something similar to this, not Titanic love story or but another tale about a ship.

In 1628, the Swedish warship Vasa set off on its maiden voyage from Stockholm to Poland, where a war was raging in the Baltic. Built by 400 craftsmen at the royal shipyard at Stockholm, the ship was richly decorated as a symbol of the king’s ambitions for Sweden and himself. It was 69 m long and was fitted with 64 cannons, and upon completion, it was of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world of that time. Unfortunately, Vasa was too top heavy and dangerously unstable. Despite the lack of stability, the king was eager to see her in battle and pushed her to sea. 

On the day of departure, a swelling crowd gathered at the harbour to watch the ship leave. Over a hundred crewmen along with women and children were on board as the crew was permitted to take family and guests along for the first part of the passage. After sailing just 1,300 m, at the first strong breeze, the ship foundered, leaned over and sank. Around 30 people lost their lives. 

Once the ship’s valuable bronze cannons were salvaged, Vasa was mostly forgotten, until she was located and recovered from the shallow waters in 1961. With a largely intact hull, the ship was housed in a museum called Wasavarvet (The Wasa Shipyard) until 1988 and then she was moved to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Today, the ship is one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions and is seen by a million visitors each year.

The news of the sinking took two weeks to reach the Swedish king, who was in Poland. He wrote angrily to the Royal Council in Stockholm demanding that the guilty parties be punished. “Imprudence and negligence” must have been the cause, he wrote. An inquiry was organised but in the end no one was found guilty of negligence and no one was punished. 

Part of the blame lies on the king himself. The ship’s lack of stability was a fact, the underwater part of the null was too small and she carried too much weight in relation to her size. A few months before the ship sailed, the captain responsible for supervising construction of the ship, showed the Vice Admiral how crank the ship was by having 30 men run back and forth across the upper deck.

On their third trial, the ship was ready to sail in the sea1. The admiral was heard to say that he wished the king, who was leading the army in Poland at the time, was present for the demonstration. The king was impatient to see the ship take up her station as flagship of the Baltic fleet and insisted that the ship be put to sea as soon as possible. The king’s subordinates were too timid to frankly discuss the ship’s structural problems or to have the maiden voyage postponed. 

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