In 1502, the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama led a fleet of ships from Lisbon, Portugal in hopes of traveling to India. Unfortunately, two of his ships never returned from the voyage, and everyone thought that they were lost forever.
But that all changed in 2013 when scientists made a discovery so incredible, it would alter history as we knew it. When you see what they found, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time!
In 1499, Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama and his men became the first fleet to travel from Europe to India. Da Gama and his fellow European explorers were in search of new trade routes in what is now known as the “Golden Age of Discovery.”
For better or worse, this was what led to the colonial ties between Europe and the rest of the world.
Da Gama and his crew were embarking on their second trip to India when tragedy struck. There were 15 ships in the fleet, 10 of which were led by Da Gama, and five that were led by his maternal uncle, Vicente Sodré.
Sodré was not exactly a rule follower. So when Da Gama sent him and his five ships to guard factories along the coast of India, Sodré ignored his orders and took his men to loot and plunder Arab ships.
While just off the coast of a tiny island near present-day Oman, Sodré was warned of an oncoming storm. Sodré ignored it. Unfortunately, two of his ships—one of which was the Esmeralda—sank, taking the lives of the crew on board.
Amazingly, more than 500 years later, the Esmeralda was discovered at the bottom of the sea by the British company Blue Water Recoveries, assisted by the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
The wreck was first found in 2013, but only recently was it confirmed to be the Esmeralda.
Twelve Portuguese gold cruzado coins were uncovered at the site of the wreck, helping to trace the ship back to its country of origin.
It’s hard to believe that something lost for so long could’ve been found. Imagine the stories that ship could tell!
This coin, minted 1499, was a big factor in determining the exact identity of the ship.
This disc features the Portuguese royal coat of arms; the armillary sphere at the bottom is the personal emblem of Don Manuel I. No one knows the disc’s function, but many assume it had something to do with navigation.
Cannonballs, which had been used against ships the Esmeralda crew wished to plunder and control, were also found within the wreckage.
They even located the ship’s bell. What a fascinating find!
The discovery of the Esmeralda shipwreck was not only an incredible find for historians, but it was an important moment in archaeological research. The artifacts have only begun to help researchers in their work. For more information about the wreckage site and how it was discovered, visit this website detailing the expedition!
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