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Two Spanish cannons from 1596 fished out of the Atlantic

Archaeologists have unearthed two Spanish cannons from 1596 from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The cannons were the armament of one of the ships probably forming part of King Philip II’s fleet. It is very possible that the cannons are the remains of one of the units that took part in the failed invasion
Published: April 24, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 22:25
Two Spanish cannons from 1596 fished out of the Atlantic

Archaeologists have unearthed two Spanish cannons from 1596 from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The cannons were the armament of one of the ships probably forming part of King Philip II’s fleet.

It is very possible that the cannons are the remains of one of the units that took part in the failed invasion of England. The discovery was made at a site off the coast of the Spanish town of A Coruna. Last week, Spanish navy divers carried out an excavation of the historic cannons.

Spanish cannon from 1956 The discovery was made accidentally, thanks to information provided by local fishermen. The archaeological site was located by them at a depth of only 16 metres. Due to its easy accessibility and high historical value, it was necessary to act quickly in order to secure the valuable artefacts.

The discovered cannons confirm the premise that Galicia is very rich in underwater cultural heritage. Especially from the period of the numerous war episodes, when it became a battle front against the English and the Protestants. – – explains Miguel San Claudio, an underwater archaeologist who has studied some of the wrecks discovered

A team of divers from the Spanish Navy’s Ferrol diving unit (UBUFER), in collaboration with the Archaeological Heritage Service and the Xunta de Galicia Coast Guard, excavated two cannons near Cape Corrubedo.

Two Spanish bronze cannons These are two artillery cannons from the late 16th century. As archaeologist San Claudio explained to the media, the main hypothesis is that the two cannons belong to one of the ships of the fleet that sank here in 1596. The preliminary identification of the cannons, in which royal shields appear, was possible thanks to the collaboration of Gianni Ridelli and Javier López, specialists in 16th century artillery, but more in-depth research will be carried out to clarify their origin.

Navy excavated two cannons It’s that weather again…

At the end of his life, King Philip II decided to conclude his reign by launching an invasion of England. This was all the more so when, at the end of June 1596, a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet sacked Cadiz. The expedition that was organised in response was intended to help the Irish rebels. The fleet sent out numbered 130 vessels, commanded by Martin de Padilla.

Spanish ships full of cannons and sailors set off in a hurry. The fleet even set off before the mighty galleons of Marcos de Aramburu joined them. However, this impatience is hardly surprising. It was dictated by the possible deterioration of weather conditions, and this enemy had already inflicted huge losses in the past Great Armada and nobody wanted to repeat that mistake.

Archaeologists extract artifacts from the wreck

Paradoxically, despite the hasty sailing, this is exactly what happened. On 28 October a strong storm wrecked the Spanish fleet and sent some 30 ships to the bottom. According to sources, around two thousand men died at the time.

It was a real maritime disaster. More ships sank then than during the Grand Armada expedition in 1588. – – added Miguel San Claudio, an underwater archaeologist who has studied some of the wrecks discovered

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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