Sweden’s maritime museum enshrines the royal warship Vasa, which capsized on its maiden voyage of simply 4,265 ft (1 ,300 m) in calm climate, on August 10, 1628, in Stockholm’s harbor. About 50 men went down with what was designed to be the jewel of the Swedish Navy. Guns had been all that was salvaged from the vessel throughout the seventeenth century, and it was not till 1956 that a marine archeologist’s persistent search led to the rediscovery of Vasa. After salvage operation, followed by a 17-year conservation program, the Vasa Museum was opened in 1990, not more than a nautical mile from the scene of the catastrophe.
Vasa was constructed as a symbol of Swedish strenght by King Gustav II Adolf, who was steadily increasing Swedish authority over the Baltic area throughout the 1620s, via war with Poland. Vasa was the biggest vessel within the historical past of the Swedish fleet and was able to carry sixty four cannons and over 445 crew. With its high stern there was a potential to fire down upon smaller ships.
LIFE ON BOARD
On its maiden voyage, Vasa was headed to the Alvsnabben naval base in the southern Stockholm archipelago, the place extra troopers were to embark. Every man’s life on the ship would have been decided by his rank. The officers would have slept in bunks and the admiral in his cabin. Officers additionally had better meals than the crew, whose food have been very basic, and consisted of beans, porridge, salted fish, and beer. The decks would have been very crowded – the small area between two cannons was the residing and sleeping quarters for seven crew members. There was no fresh food, so most of the crew would have had scurvy and died from deficiency illnesses before they reached battle.
THE SALVAGE OPERATION
The marine archeologist Anders Franzen had been searching for Vasa for years. On August 25, 1956, his persistence was rewarded when he found a chunk of blackened oak on his plumb line from Vasa, located one hundred ft (30m) beneath the surface. From the autumn of 1957, it took divers two years to clear tunnels underneath the hull for the lifting cables. The first lift was successful, after which Vasa was lifted in sixteen stages into shallower water. Hundreds of plugs have been then inserted into holes left by rusted iron bolts. The ultimate lift began on the morning of April 24, 1961, and on May 4, Vasa was towed into dry dock after 333 years under the sea.