262-year old East Indiaman Götheborg returns to London

Götheborg Götheborg Götheborg

Götheborg; sailmaking; ship’s boat; teapot excavated from the wreck of the original ship

A full-scale replica of the Swedish 18th-century East India merchantman Götheborg is scheduled to sail into London with cannons firing on the 19th May 2007. She will stay in London until the 2nd June.

The Götheborg is returning to London 262 years after her original namesake left for Sweden in a dramatic, final voyage that saw the ship wrecked just outside Gothenburg Harbour in an insurance scam.

The replica has visited 13 countries, braved modern-day pirates and been visited by thousands of people on a two-year voyage recreating the old East India trading routes. Tall ships fans can follow the adventure online at www.soic.se.

The original Götheborg sank on 12 September, 1745, on her way back from London, foundering on rocks outside the entrance to Gothenburg’s port. The ship had been at sea for two years and was supposed to be returning with cargo valued at more than Sweden’s national budget when she sank. All the crew survived, picked up by the flotilla of small boats that sailed to greet the Götheborg. The cargo was never salvaged, but claimed on insurance. Swedish historians speculate the ship was deliberately wrecked as an insurance fraud, and believe the captain and ship’s owner sold all the cargo in London.

Marine archaeological excavations of the wreck took place from 1986 to 1992. The findings and salvaged remnants of the ship were used to guide her recreation. Work began to recreate her in 2002, using traditional materials and craftsmanship employed during the 18th century, and took ten years.

London’s Bengali community originates from the men who sailed to London as crew on the East Indiamen. Known as ‘Lascars’ they were predominantly recruited from the Bay of Bengal, where the East India vessels docked to trade.

Related posts at intheboatshed.net

●From dinghies to the Architectura Navalis and back

●The wonderful Architectura Navalis

●Will Stirling at Morewellham

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