Christopher Columbus' 1492 Santa Maria Ship Found?

A veteran underwater explorer claimed he has found ship wreckage off the coast of Haiti, the final destination of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria vessel.

Explorer Barry Clifford believes he has found the famous ship that hit a reef off of Haiti’s coastline in 1492.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” Said Clifford

Haiti has taken an interest in making resources available to Clifford, helping to assist with his findings. “The Haitian government has been extremely helpful--and we now need to continue working with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck,” he said.

Clifford has yet to physically touch anything at this time. His team has been strictly relegated to measuring and taking pictures of the site.

The explorer said he utilized Columbus’ ancient diary. He was able to geographically pinpoint the area thanks to prior explorations in the area from 2003.

Several other forms of proof show Clifford and his crew may have in fact found the real wreckage. According to The Independent’s Archaeology Correspondent David Keys:  

The site is also an exact match in terms of historical knowledge about the underwater topography associated with the loss of the Santa Maria. The local currents are also consistent with what is known historically about the way the vessel drifted immediately prior to its demise.

The footprint of the wreck, represented by the pile of ship’s ballast, is also exactly what one would expect from a vessel the size of the Santa Maria.

Using marine magnetometers, side-scan sonar equipment and divers, Mr. Clifford’s team has, over several years, investigated more than 400 seabed anomalies off the north coast of Haiti and has narrowed the search for the Santa Maria down to the tiny area where the wreck, which the team thinks may well be Columbus’ lost vessel, has been found.

The Santa Maria was used by Christopher Columbus and crew for his historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. After it crashed on December 24, 1492, it was destroyed beyond repair. Afterwards, Columbus and his crew set up a fort in Haiti and named in La Navidad (Christmas), because the shipwreck occurred on Christmas day. La Navidad is recognized as the first European colony in the New World (Western Hemisphere).


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