Military ship from 17th century found in Swedish waters

Archaeologists believe to have found the shipwreck of the historic vessel named the Blekinge, which sunk in 1713 at Karlskrona, southern Sweden. Among other campaigns, it served during king Karl XII’s sea assault against Denmark in 1700.

Underwater investigation of the shipwreck (by Jim Hansson & Sjöhistoriska Museet)

The Blekinge was the first vessel that was built at Karlskrona Naval Base, established by Charles XI of Sweden after Scanian War (1675-1679) in order to have a close approach with Denmark, in case of future conflicts. Karlskrona Naval Base was one of the largest ever constructed and it remains in use today. The shipwreck is said to have been discovered three days before Christmas 2016 by researchers who used historical maps created for the construction of the naval base.

Remains of the Bleckinge (by Jim Hansson & Sjöhistoriska Museet)

The Blekinge was built in 1682 as part of the fleet used by Swedes during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) waged by the Swedish Empire against the Danes and the Russians. The ship is believed to have been 45 metres long and had up to 68-70 canons. The researchers point that it was similar in construction to the famous Swedish shipwrecks Vasa and Solen.

Model of similar size vessel to Blekinge, the Solen (by Jim Hansson & Sjöhistoriska Museet)

Before the ship rested on the seabed near Karlskrona it ran aground near the island of Getskär in the north of the Bay of Bothnia in 1683. It was rescued and sailed again for a further two decades before it met its final fate. The researchers believe that the ship may even have been downed deliberately in order to use its canons to defend Karlskrona during Karl XII’s campaign against Russia. It may have been sunk deliberately and used as a sort of cannon barge while construction at Karlskrona stopped during the Karl XII’s catastrophic expedition, that ended in the downfall of the Swedish Empire, and escape of the monarch to the Ottoman Empire.

Remains of the ship (by Jim Hansson & Sjöhistoriska Museet)

The ship preserved in poor condition. The upper part of it appears to have been flattened by the construction of the stone pier at Karlskrona’s shipyard. However a part of it is still embedded in deep layers of sediment and the lower sections are believed to be better preserved. The researchers believe that there might be a relatively intact level of deck under the sediment.

Archaeologists by the shipwreck of Blekinge (by Jim Hansson & Sjöhistoriska Museet)

(after International Business Times, The Local, Jim Hansson & Sjöhistoriska Museet)

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