Christopher Columbus Santa Maria Ship History and What’s Next


In one of the most exciting find in naval history, the Santa Maria, one of the ships sailed by Christopher Columbus, has been found in Haiti, according to investigators working on exploring the wreckage. Over five centuries since the flagship was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeology investigators think that they have now discovered the remains of the long lost water vessel. However, some have cast doubt on the authenticity of the find and are wondering what’s next for the wrecked ship.

All underwater topography and geographical evidence gathered, though, strongly suggest that this is the wreckage of the famous flagship referred to as the Santa Maria. The Haitian government has been a great help to the explorers of the shipwreck by providing the necessary resources to investigators as well as working with the experts in order to help them in carrying out detailed archaeological excavations of the wreck.

Historians and ship enthusiasts alike are understandably thrilled with the find, which some are touting as the most significant naval discovery since 1492. A world-renowned explorer announcing that he has found Christopher Columbus’ long lost ship is a great example of what modern day researchers can achieve with today’s advanced technology. Christopher Columbus’ ship the Santa Maria has a long and rich history as well as an exciting future ahead of it as many are asking what’s next for the nautical wonder.

Indeed, the ship’s history is most fascinating. During the time of the incident, Christopher Columbus and his on-board crew managed to salvage the usable timber from the remains of the wreckage. They used the wood to build a memorial fort in remembrance of the tragic incident. For many years, the location of the fort remained a mystery to many people. However archaeologists were able to trace its likely location. Barry Clifford, the man who discovered the wreck, used these details in order to locate the remains of the Santa Maria.

What then motivated Clifford to want to search for Santa Maria? Clifford drew most of his inspiration from a 2004 discovery channel documentary called Quest for Columbus. His team managed to take photos of the wreck in 2003 and the pictures together with computer data all but convinced him that the wreck was of the long lost ship. He also relied heavily on the diary of Columbus, and specifically, passages about a type of cannon called a Lombard. Clifford says that the Lombard described in Columbus’ diary is clearly visible in the wreckage on the bottom of the ocean floor.

The Santa Maria, which is the largest of the Columbus’ three ships on expedition, ran aground in the year 1492 on Christmas day off the northern coast of Haiti. Clifford has worked for many years to arrive at this discovery and therefore he says it is a great achievement for him.

As for the wreckage, some of its parts were missing as at the time of the excavation. It is believed that one of the cannons was stolen during the past decade and that the ship was, at some point, looted by thieves. However, if the excavations go as planned, all the buried materials might be discovered. Researchers are very excited about what they have found so far and they hold out hope that they may find more pieces of wreckage under the sand.

So what’s next for the Santa Maria? If the wreckage turns out to be verified as the missing vessel, the remains might later be put on permanent exhibition at a museum in Haiti so that everyone can enjoy the history and the story behind Christopher Columbus and his beloved ship.

By: Rebecca Savastio




USA Today



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