Thursday, May 15, 2014

SPECIAL = Santa Maria is Located....

The article directly below was is taken from the "The Independent" website of Thursday, May 15, 2014.  The web address for the article itself is:

Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria


More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti. It’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said the leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site, one of America’s top underwater archaeological investigators, Barry Clifford.

“The Haitian government has been extremely helpful – and we now need to continue working  with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck,” he said.

So far, Mr Clifford’s team has carried out purely non-invasive survey work at the site – measuring and photographing it.

Tentatively identifying the wreck as the Santa Maria has been made possible by quite separate discoveries made by other archaeologists in 2003 suggesting the probable location of Columbus’ fort relatively nearby. Armed with this new information about the location of the fort, Clifford was able to use data in  Christopher Columbus’ diary (pictured below) to work out where the wreck should be.

An expedition, mounted by his team a decade ago, had already found and photo- graphed the wreck – but had not, at that stage, realized its probable identity.

It’s a current re-examination of underwater photographs from that initial survey (carried out back in 2003), combined with data from recent reconnaissance dives on the site (carried out by Clifford’s team earlier this month), that have allowed Clifford to tentatively identify the wreck as that of the Santa Maria.

The evidence so far is substantial. It is the right location in terms of how Christopher Columbus, writing in his diary, described the wreck in relation to his fort.

This next portion is information gathered by B.T. Bolten :

The Santa María was built in Castro-Urdiales, Cantabria, and launched in 1460. She was a type of ship called a "Nao" or a "carrack".  (Pictured above: a model of the Santa Maria) These were basically round ships developed by the Portuguese in the 15'th Century for ocean-going voyages.  Such ships had high rounded sterns with large aftercastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem.  They were three-masted ships with a Main, Fore and a Mizzen Mast. On the Mizzen (rear) mast, they tended to carry a lanteen (or a triangular shaped) sail, because the sailors likely found the large square sails difficult to handle. The Santa Maria was a medium-sized vessel of this type, at a  total length of about 58 ft. and weighing about 150 metric tons... so she really was not very large. She had 39 men listed as being in her crew, including Columbus himself.  Her wreck occurred on Christmas Day, December 25, in 1492.


"Fighting Ships" by Richard Hough, Putnam's Sons, New York, 1969


  1. Fascinating if this is really the Santa Maria! A replica of the Nina sailed down the Ohio River a few years ago and I got the assignment of writing an article about it for the newspaper. I was able to go all over the ship and it was amazing. So small a ship for such a voyage!

  2. Thank you so very much for contributing to the discussion here, Michele. Yep, Columbus and his boys didn't have a lot of room to spare. Amazing that they didn't go crazy.