• Sweden's news in English
 

Blackbeard's shipwreck reveals Swedish booty

The Local · 1 Nov 2013, 12:10

Published: 01 Nov 2013 12:10 GMT+01:00

Nearly three centuries ago the notorious pirate Blackbeard sank his ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, off the coast of North Carolina. After running aground in shallow waters, he was able to save himself, but not his ship, which carried his guns and treasures to the bottom of the sea in 1718.

The shipwreck was discovered in 1996, and since then a team of archaeologists in North Carolina has been searching the wreckage. They recovered tens of thousands of smaller artifacts, including cannons, anchors, gold dust, animal bones, and medical instruments. On Monday, a cannon weighing 1,360 kilogrammes was raised from the depths - and the team suspects it's Swedish.

"The only other recovered gun this size was made in Sweden," project director Bill Ray Morris said in a statement.  

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has recovered 20 cannons from the ship, and four of them appear to be of Swedish origin. 

"The English certainly used Swedish guns as did the Dutch, Danes, Spanish and French. It would not have been uncommon to find Swedish manufactured guns on any ship during the first quarter of the 18th century," diver and cannon expert Nathan Henry told The Local. "Sweden was the largest producer of cast iron artillery in the world between 1640 and 1750. A majority of the production was exported."

The other of Blackbeard's large cannons, which was confirmed to be Swedish, was cast in 1713 and came from the Ehrendal factory in Gnesta, central Sweden, and was loaded with an English two-pounder shot as well as a bundle of three iron spikes.

"They barely fit in the barrel," Henry told The Local. "A pretty nasty payload to be sure."

Other cannons pulled up from the shipwreck had no foundry markings, making it difficult to confirm the factory where they were made, but "had the unmistakable shape and unique ring pattern of a cannon produced in the Finspång foundry (Finspång bruk) in the province of Östergötland, which was Sweden's largest cannon foundry for about 300 years. 

The cannons are not the only extravagant archaeological find from that period of Scandinavian history. Two Danish warships were discovered in Stockholm in May, and one of Sweden's biggest tourist attractions is the decadent 17th century Vasa ship, which sank from its own weight before ever making it out of the harbour. The Vasa also featured massive Swedish cannons, but the bronze guns were intended as a flashy show of wealth rather than for warfare. 

Historians believe Captain Blackbeard's real name was Edward Teach. His ship Queen Anne’s Revenge was originally a French slave ship, which he captured and equipped with some 40 cannons. 

Story continues below…

Blackbeard intentionally grounded the ship in 1718, marooning his crew and sinking his Swedish guns before escaping alone... only to be killed in battle six months later.

Solveig Rundquist

Follow Solveig on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Julian Assange
Assange: 'Today is a significant victory for us'
Julian Assange's press conference on Friday. Photo: Mattias Areskog/TT

Assange: 'Today is a significant victory for us'
14 hours ago

Will Julian Assange be able to walk free?

Julian Assange
Swedish rape activists slam UN on Assange
The board of Swedish women's refuge lobby Roks. (Zozan Inci front left). Photo: Roks

Swedish rape activists slam UN on Assange
14 hours ago

“The UN thinks that the justice of the women who have been assaulted and raped is less important than the right of a possible offender to walk freely in the streets.”

Ikea loses right to own trademark in Indonesia
What four yellow letters can Ikea put up at its store outside Jakarta. Photo: Flickr/BxHxTxCx

Ikea loses right to own trademark in Indonesia
16 hours ago

You thought that Ikea was a Swedish purveyor of flatpack furniture? Well not in Indonesia it isn't, at least not any more.

The Local List
Four fab facts about Sweden's 'Melodifestivalen' mania
Måns Zelmerlöw won Eurovision song contest 2015. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Four fab facts about Sweden's 'Melodifestivalen' mania
16 hours ago

Christmas, Midsummer and Lucia are all important holidays in Sweden. But there is one event that is bigger than them all.

The Local music
Ten fantastic Swedish songs for February
Maja Francis. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Ten fantastic Swedish songs for February
19 hours ago

February brings a haul of great new Swedish pop - let our music writer, Paul Connolly, take you through the very best.

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
Stock picture of playing cards. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SCANPIX

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
20 hours ago

A game of bridge had an unexpected ending for 32 club members in Thailand, including three Swedes.

Swedish Volvo's offloads costs for big profit rise
A Volvo trucks plant in the US. Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Swedish Volvo's offloads costs for big profit rise
20 hours ago

Truck maker Volvo reported a big profit boost on Friday following a massive cost-cutting programme.

Swede finds 86-year-old condom at grandma's
The condoms were made out of silk. Photo: SVT

Swede finds 86-year-old condom at grandma's
21 hours ago

Would you trust a silk condom?

Swedish church admits it ran 'racist' Sami schools
Stock picture of people wearing Sami clothes. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Swedish church admits it ran 'racist' Sami schools
22 hours ago

'It was a form of school whose ideology was based on racist ideas of superior and inferior races,' said Archbishop Antje Jackelén.

The Local Recipes
How to make traditional Swedish 'semlor' buns
Semla buns. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/SCANPIX

How to make traditional Swedish 'semlor' buns
23 hours ago

Impress your Swedish friends by making these beloved and very, very creamy semlor. This is our favourite recipe.

Sponsored Article
How to set up shop in the 'Silicon Valley of Sweden'
International
Who exactly is Julian Assange?
Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Travel
Stockholm's eight REAL no-go zones
Gallery
People-watching: February 3rd
Blog updates

4 February

City Runs (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Since moving to Stockholm I’ve been blessed to live next to the Djurgarden, and to be…" READ »

 

3 February

An amazing month for The Local as Europe thirsts for news (Globally Local) »

"Here at The Local, we shy away from blowing our own trumpet – but sometimes if…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Swiss hospitality: The ladder to your international career
National
'How confronting the man who robbed me gave me closure'
Sponsored Article
Ice magic at north Sweden island lodges
National
TIMELINE: All the twists and turns in the Julian Assange case
Analysis & Opinion
DEBATE: Why are Swedes so obsessed with Nordic skiing?
Culture
See which Swedish museums are now opening up for free
Sponsored Article
Just landed? Here's the secret to finding work in Stockholm
Gallery
Property of the week: Insjön, Nacka
Sponsored Article
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
National
VIDEO: Tensions caught on camera inside Swedish asylum home
Gallery
People-Watching: January 29th - 31st
Sponsored Article
Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
International
How will Sweden deport up to 80,000 failed asylum seekers?
Sport
When you gotta go... Swedish racing dog does poo and then takes gold
Sport
Guess who just got a HUGE pay rise?
Travel
WATCH: Five top tips for safe ice skating on Sweden's gorgeous lakes
Gallery
People-watching: January 27th
National
'Sweden could be at war within years'
Gallery
Property of the week: Öjersbo, Kungsbacka
International
Why is the Pope coming to Sweden?
Travel
Ten must-see Stockholm museums
National
He created Sweden's huge snow penis
Culture
The historic moment when Abba reunited on stage in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
OPINION: Why I can't embrace Sweden's obsession with hugging
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Mamma Mia The Party show opens in Stockholm
3,440
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se