Brad Crouch: In a Puff the Greatest Warship of Its Day Was GoneRoundup: Talking About History
Brad Crouch, in the Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) (2-20-05):
It was the greatest weapon of mass destruction of the time, built by the leading superpower of the era. Then, in a puff of wind, it was gone.
The sinking of the Swedish supership Vasa within minutes of its launch in front of assembled dignitaries in 1628 was a monumental disaster.
In terms of Great Duds Through History, it has to rank in the top 10.
But almost 400 years after the embarrassment of seeing the pride of the fleet go under, Sweden is rejoicing in Vasa as one of its top tourist drawcards.
The Vasa was ordered by the ambitious King Gustavus II Adolphus as a show of power to intimidate his regional rivals.
The largest warship of the era stood almost 70m long and more than 50m high, with ornate carvings of gods, kings, monsters and much more to scare opponents. There were also two levels of 64 cannons.
The unprecedented amount of cannons were its undoing -- it was top-heavy, and when the wind hit as the Vasa made her way down the harbour at Stockholm, she tipped and slid straight to the bottom with the loss of about 50 lives.
In 1961, marine historian Anders Franzen succeeded in a long-held dream to raise the ship.
The 1000 oaks used in her hull were still intact and she was so well-preserved she was able to float unaided. The colossal warship now sits in a specially made museum in Stockholm drawing 850,000 visitors a year....
comments powered by Disqus
- Letters collection offers unique glimpse into ordeal of Australian aborigines
- War, More Than ISIS, Is Destroying Syria's Ancient Sites
- Pew Poll: Trust in government is at historic lows
- If "The Donald" Said It Happened, It Happened! And Don't You Forget It!
- Solved: the mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age mummies
- Anne Frank Faced Challenges Similar to Syrian Refugees, Richard Breitman Says
- Douglass North, Nobel Prize-winning economics historian, dies at 95
- Craig Shirley says Ted Cruz is right and the Huffington Post wrong about Ronald Reagan’s 1980 Presidential Campaign
- Mystery at Notre Dame: A priest-historian has been forced to back off a project promoting authentic Catholic education
- William & Mary launching a gay history project