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Christopher Columbus’ flagship may have been found

An underwater archaeological search may have discovered the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus when he sailed across the Atlantic reaching the New World in 1492.

19th century painting of Christopher Columbus on Santa Maria in 1492

Barry Clifford, an American archaeological explorer, announced today that his team have come across the remains of a ship off of Haiti’s northern coast. He explained, “All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria.”

The team began researching this area after archaeologists in 2003 discovered the probable location of the fort La Navidad, which was built after the flagship ran aground on December 25, 1492. Clifford made use of information from Columbus’ diaries about where the ship sank in relation to that fort.

Earlier dives to the location had uncovered ballast stones that come from northern Spain and a 15th century cannon, however in the latest dive the team learned that the cannon had disappeared, likely taken by looters.

Clifford hopes to conduct more research and work with the Haitian government to preserve the remains of the vessel. “I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America,” he adds.

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