A Swedish 64-gun warship built in Stockholm by the Dutch shipwrights Hen[d]rick Hybertszoon [Hendrijch Hubrijs] and Henrik Jakobson and launched in 1627. The dimensions of the ship were 47,70×11,20×4,75 meters. The armament of 64 guns of which 48 were of 24 pounds made her the most powerful ship of her time.

She capsized on her maiden voyage on the 10th of August 1628 in the harbour of Stockholm. The number of people drowned at the catastrophe is not known, one contemporary report tells that "some 30 sailors, wifes and children who wished to follow to Waxholm were drowned", in another report Erik Krabbe mentions that "it is being said that a half hundred people, among them some women and children who wanted to follow to the skerries".

Most of the 64 guns were salvaged already in 1663-1664 by Hans Albrecht von Treileben and Anders Peckel using a primitive diving bell. Three 24-pound guns were found still in or about the wreck.

The well preserved wreck was discovered in August 1956 after extensive archival research by the amateur naval historian Anders Franzén. The salvage work started in 1959 with the first 3 meter lift on August 20. She was finally raised on the 24th of April 1961 and floated into the Gustav V drydock on May 4 on her own keel. During the excavation work the sail-locker was found and the remains of the sails that were not set at the catastrophe. After excavation the ship was brought into a temporary custom built museum. The ship has since been moved to her permanent resting place, a museum built over a 19th century drydock. Although the reconstruction of the ship is not finished yet, all the recovered external sculptures have been fitted. The ship will not be completely re-rigged, but only up to the tops. The lower masts were fitted in 1994.

Brief Chronology

1625 January 16
The merchant Arent Hybertszoon de Groote and his brother, the master shipwright, Hen[d]rick Hybertszoon obtained a four year lease for the maintenance of the entire Swedish navy and also for the building of four new ships:

1626 - a large ship, 136 feet long and 34 feet wide.
1627 - a small ship.
1628 - a large ship, equal in size to the ship of 1626.
1629 - a small ship.
1626 March
The building of the ship was begun.
1626 August 12
Contract signed with Hans Klerck regarding rigging of the ships of the Navy, including the Wasa.
1627 May
Henrick Hybertszoon died after having been ill for a long period of time.
1628 August 10
Left the harbour of Stockholm for Elfsnabben in the outer archipelago where the remaining stores and people should be get onboard. After having been towed out from the quay the sails were set. A gust of wind caught her and she capsized and sank in 25 fathoms of water.

Of the people onboard at the catastrophe the following names are known:

1628 August 13
Contract signed with the English engineer Ian Bulmer to raise the ship. Already on August 21 it was reported that ship had been righted with the help of the ship Gamla Svärdet.
1628 September
Captain Söfring Hansson, who survived the accident, was accused at the following trial for not having taken the necessary actions to prevent the capsizing but was acquitted.
The French Captain Fermin Mazalet and Johan Fabre were given a salvage privilge.
The Dutch shipbuilder Cornelis Gerbrantsen Hellingsman of Hoorn and Captain Tyman Claesson offered to raise the sunken ship.
1634 November 20
Captain Fermin Mazalet was given a new privelige to salvage the ship. If he succeeded, he would be awarded half of the ship with the exeception of the guns and related equipment for which he should be given half the weight of the guns in raw copper.
1635 January 12
Contract between the Admiralty and Heinrich Zancke of Rostock for raising the ship. The Admiralty was to supply cables, ships and people at his disposal and if he succeeded he would be rewarded with a sum of 6000 riksdaler.
1652 July
Alexander Forbes was awarded a 12 year long privilege to salvage all ships sunk in Swedish waters.
1653 May 28
Confirmation of Alexander Forbes salvage privilege given the previous year.
Hans Albrecht von Treileben and Anders Peckell and their divers salvaged 53 guns with the aid of a diving bell.
1682 August 17
Jurgen Liberton was given a privilege for the recovering the remaining guns.
It was reported that Liberton had recovered a 20 pound gun [24 pound old measurement].
1956 August
The wreck was found by the late Anders Franzén.
1956 November 18
The remains of the still standing foremast was raised.
1958 September 5
A 24 pound gun was recovered from its position at the lower gun deck.
1961 April 24
The ship was raised to the surface.
1988 December 6
The ship was moved to the new museum.

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Updated 2001-04-05 by Lars Bruzelius

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.