Completed in the year 1672, the warship Kronan went on to become the Swedish naval fleet’s crown jewel. Unfortunately, it sank just four years later, taking the lives of nearly all its 800 crew members. As it disappeared beneath the waves, the Kronan also disappeared from history until centuries later.
The Wreck Discovered
In 1980, the wreck of the warship Kronan was discovered. Over the next couple of years, different expeditions explored the wreck. They were able to recover plenty of historically significant pieces. However, the most recent dive provided the most unexpected yet remarkable discovery.
A Force To Be Reckoned With
A multi-masted juggernaut, the Kronan took seven whole years to construct. When it took to the seas in the year 1672, it was definitely a force to reckon with. Back then, the Kronan could have intimidated any ship on the seas, but as it turns out, the sea itself would be its greatest enemy.
A Really Bad Turn
The ship encountered rough waters and while making a sharp turn, it capsized. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the gunpowder stored on the ship also got ignited. For this majestic ship, the ensuing explosion became the last nail in the coffin.
Hidden At The Bottom Of The Ocean
The Kronan sank and for three centuries, it lay hidden at the bottom of the ocean. It became home to various aquatic life and sea creatures. Inside, the warship still harbored a lot of treasures and artifacts waiting to be found.
Rediscovered By Chance
The wreck was rediscovered by chance in 1980. After amateur researcher Anders Franzen found it, archeological dives have been sponsored by the Swedish government every year in order to find any artifacts which lay within. However, what exactly did the wreck of the once proud ship hide?
A Most Formidable Warship
The divers who explored the wreck couldn’t help but be awed at the sight of this massive ship. Its sides bristle with cannons, which make it clear that the Kronan was once a most formidable warship.
A True Juggernaut
The divers explored the interior of the ship. They swam through the massive structure, exploring dozens of rooms that used to house the crew and had been equipped with weapons. There is no doubt the Kronan was a juggernaut in its day.
Working To Reveal An Amazing Treasure Trove
The divers started working on the ship. They used special equipment to remove mud and sand which had covered the warship and its interior for centuries. They cleared all the surfaces of the ship. Doing this revealed an amazing treasure trove.
An Exhibit Of The Artifacts
Of course, all the artifacts recovered from the Kronan’s wreck would be sent directly to Sweden’s Kalmar County Museum, which had already prepared a whole exhibit about the warship. The exhibit would be unveiled once everything had been excavated.
The divers found various artifacts, including many 17th-century firearms and rifles. Besides the intrinsic value of these rare and old items, the weapons also provided a much clearer view of warfare and armaments common during the 1600s. Some of the information that the artifacts revealed even amazed the experts, in part because it included information that had been unknown prior to the discovery.
After the firearms were excavated, they were carefully cleaned and then restored. It was made sure that they would look like new before being put on display. Despite the fact that the guns were really fascinating, they were not the only incredible artifacts that were discovered…
Insight Into Everyday Life
Many of the artifacts found by the divers were much simpler. In spite of this, they offered a previously unknown but amazing insight into daily life in the 17th century. These artifacts included instruments like trumpets and violins which were probably used to provide the crew with entertainment while at sea.
A Gold Ring
During one of the archeological dives, a gold ring in pristine condition was found. Even after centuries on the ocean floor, the ring sparkled as it had on the day it was made. It looked as though it had just been accidentally deposited there.
The Biggest Coin Find
The most exciting find was probably the load of coins, both gold, and silver, which had been on board the ship when it sank. The divers were amazed since they came across coins that were from Sweden, Egypt, Turkey, and Syria! It was definitely the biggest coin find in the history of Sweden!
An Intact Part Of History
Among the most important things that were recovered was a wooden plaque that has the ship’s name scrawled across it. While it may not be worth as much as the silver and gold, the plaque is an intact part of history, which makes it equally important as everything else.
The Kalmar County Museum was thrilled to display all of the lost treasure of the Kronan, but little did they know the most interesting item had yet to be found…
The Black Tin Jar
Just when researchers thought everything of importance has been unearthed, this black tin jar was found nestled in the mud. It was heavy. Perhaps more silver and gold coins?
When the can was finally pried open, a pungent smell overwhelmed the scientists. There was a grayish lump of mush inside. Suddenly, it hit the scientists. They were staring at some type of preserved cheese product!
The scientists described the smell as Roquefort cheese mixed with yeast. Cheese was a status symbol during the period the Kronan was built. The dairy product divided the rich and the poor. However, In this case, the cheese was definitely well past its prime.
Relatively Good Condition
While no one really thought of adding this Kronan cheese to some gourmet cheese platter anytime soon, just the fact that it was in relatively good condition absolutely stunned everyone. This is the perfect time to have Andrew Zimmern around. He’d likely give this a taste!
The Kronan cheese is on display at the museum together with the other findings. The wreck was discovered in 1980, and the diving teams have collected more than 30,000 artifacts since then. They have not even explored all the nooks and crannies. Perhaps a nice Merlot that goes well with the cheese will be found!
Another Unexpected Find
While researchers investigated the Kronan, there was another relic from the past that turned up in such an unexpected place.
The Coast Of California
Significant storms are part of life on the coast of California. The unusually warm systems called El Niños move over the area sometime in December causing some of these storms. In 2016, however, Coronado, California was hit by an especially devastating storm.
Ready To Clean Up
Coronado residents were quick to go back outside after the winds and rains passed. Ready to clean up the town, they were definitely surprised by what they found there. No one was prepared for this…
Something Very Unusual
Once people got to South Coronado Beach, they noticed there was something very unusual that was protruding from the sandy beach. It was massive and clearly not part of a reef. Everyone wondered what the heck it was.
While no one was really sure what exactly the strange formation was, everyone was curious and wanted to have a closer look. A lot of residents had theories, though the truth was actually even wilder…
The Answer Revealed
The powerful storm had unearthed something truly incredible but more work was needed to find out what it was. Fortunately, the tide washed the surrounding sand away, revealing the answer to the mystery …
The waves revealed an enormous shipwreck! Everybody was in awe once they finally realized what the massive structure was. It was truly amazing that such an enormous ship had been lying beneath the waves all along.
It must have been a really intense storm since it uncovered something as large as a city block. As the temperature of the ocean’s surface increases —and the warm air and much colder air meet in the sky— intense wind and rain are caused.
Preparing For A Storm
An El Niño storm that hits a populous area typically causes a lot of damage. Usually, it is best to prepare by boarding up doors and windows or evacuating the area altogether.
The Intensity Of El Niño
Obviously, the intensity of the winds and rain of El Niño regularly tosses around small boats. However, the South Coronado Beach discovery was totally different. This was definitely not a small boat—the thing was really massive!
Where Had It Come From?
With the enormous vessel uncovered, everybody wanted to know just where it had come from. Aside from that, they wondered what it was used for when it was still fully functioning and sailing the high seas.
The ship actually has a fascinating history. The 300-foot vessel was named the SS Monte Carlo and was built in Wilmington in North Carolina in the year 1921. After World War I, only a few concrete and iron ships were built and the SS Monte Carlo was one of them.
Until 1923, the ship was owned by the United States Quartermaster Corps. It was purchased by the Associated Oil Company of San Francisco. In the early 1930s, the company sold it to actual mobsters, Martin Schouwiler and Ed Turner.
Plan For The Ship
The two men initially hoped they could turn their newly acquired ship into a “sin ship” during the Prohibition period. Their plan was to anchor it three miles from Coronado Beach, in international waters. Doing this would make alcohol, prostitution, and gambling technically legal onboard… at least, that was what they hoped.
Unsurprisingly, the ship got incredibly popular. There were visitors from all around who came to take part in the illegal activities that the ship offered. While it was not really the first “sin ship” ever, it was certainly the largest. During its prime, the ship would host over 15,000 gamblers a week!
Millions In Profit
The ship raked in an estimated $3 million a year. By today’s standards, that is nearly $52 million! On January 1st in 1937, however, a massive storm hit the area and caused the ship to drift. The ship eventually ran aground on South Coronado Beach.
Buried Underneath The Sand
Over the next years, the ship’s remains got buried underneath the sand. However, during the 2016 El Niño, there was a storm strong enough to move the sand away and reveal this ancient piece of history again.
The Slow Reveal
With some help from the incoming and outgoing tide, more and more of the former “sin ship” was slowly revealed. Before long, Coronado residents could make out the whole shipwreck.
Once the entire vessel came into full view, word of the discovery quickly spread around the area. Everybody wanted to explore the real-life shipwreck! Can you really blame them?
Dangers Of Exploring The Ship
As fascinating as it was, visitors had to be very careful around the remains. The ship had been built with iron and concrete, and due to erosion, the frame developed extremely sharp edges. Even though it was dangerous, it might be worth exploring it…
There were rumors that more than $150,000 worth of silver and gold coins were still on the ship. Even if it was only a rumor, there was still treasure that was discovered. The SS Monte Carlo itself is a treasure!