Long-Lost Warship From 1600s Is Finally Found

The Applet, sister ship of the doomed Vasa, discovered off Stockholm
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2022 9:45 AM CDT
Long-Lost Warship From 1600s Is Finally Found
Divers Patrik Hoglund and Jim Hansson, right, marine archaeologists at Vrak – Museum of Wrecks hold a piece of wood from the found shipwreck The Applet in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday.   (Jonas Ekstr?mer/TT News Agency via AP)

The sister ship of the iconic 17th-century Swedish warship Vasa has finally been found, almost 400 years after its intentional sinking. The Applet was discovered in a strait off Vaxholm island outside Stockholm in December, then explored further this past spring, according to the Swedish Museum of Wrecks. "Our pulses raced when we saw how similar the wreck was to Vasa," said Jim Hansson, a maritime archaeologist at the museum. The 225-foot Vasa, recovered in 1961 and housed at the nearby Vasa Museum, was meant to be a star of the Swedish navy but capsized just 1,000 yards into its maiden voyage in 1628, per CBS News.

Ship designer Hein Jakobsson had recognized that Vasa might be vulnerable to tipping and therefore made the Applet wider before its 1629 launch, which proved much more successful. The ship was later used in battle with Germany during the Thirty Years' War, after which it was no longer seaworthy. It was intentionally sunk in 1659 along with other ships as "part of an underwater barrier that would prevent the enemy from reaching Stockholm by sea," the museum said. Museum officials have been searching for the Applet for some time. They discovered two other warships in the area in 2019, but those turned out to be the Apollo and Maria from 1648, per AFP.

Timber samples, felled in Malardalen in 1627, and other details, some of which had only been seen on the Vasa, confirmed the wreck to be the Applet. The sides of the ship are missing, showing gunports on two levels, but the hull is visible up to the lower gun deck, the museum said. "With 'Applet', we can add another key piece of the puzzle in the development of Swedish shipbuilding," said Hansson. "This will help us understand how the large warships evolved, from the unstable Vasa to seaworthy behemoths that could control the Baltic Sea—a decisive factor in Sweden's emergence as a great power in the 1600s," added fellow maritime archeologist Patrik Hoglund. (More shipwreck stories.)

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