The museum of the hurricane and wrecks

despite its tremendous size, in the galleons and ships of spaniards, who for centuries sailed the seas of the world, there was barely enough room for the board.

The museum of the hurricane and wrecks

despite its tremendous size, in the galleons and ships of spaniards, who for centuries sailed the seas of the world, there was barely enough room for the board. The marine who operated the cannons that protected these ships of the enemy fleet or pirates ate and slept between the guns, hang from hammocks or coyes they balanced the rocking of the boat. In the case of combat, the palanquines and trusses were allowed to move the caissons forward to asomasen their mouths by the portas and prevent the gunners just crushed by the recoil. How they lived and died in those ships may be revived in the Museum of the Royal Atarazanas (SEA), in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), opened the last day 12 by the country's president, Danilo Medina.

it All started at 11 in the night of 25 December 1492, when admiral Christopher Columbus retired to sleep, and incomprehensibly the nao Santa Maria was at the helm of the boy: ran aground at the little. It was the first of the hundreds of shipwrecks over the centuries to follow, off the coast of Hispaniola, a place chosen by the Catholic Monarchs in 1503 to found a House of Recruitment and in 1543, during the reign of Carlos V, the shipyard (drassanes).

As the island soon became a strategic centre from which branched out the explorations towards the continent between the FIFTEENTH and NINETEENTH centuries, its coasts were coveted by the european powers. But the coast was continuously lashed by terrible storms that turned their waters into a giant graveyard of the sea. In 1976, the dominican Government launched the Programme of Underwater Archaeology to salvage the goods of the ships that were being disenfranchised by fishermen and hunters clandestine. It was the beginning of the Laboratory of Underwater Cultural Heritage, which preserves more than 100,000 objects from these wrecks, as well as of the new museum.

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The underwater archaeologist Spanish Carlos Leon and experts dominicans Francis Soto and Isabel Brito scrutinized more than 50,000 items to choose from the 1,200 selected for the museum. “It is one of the few dedicated to the wrecks. The collection displayed begins with the remains of two pieces artilleras of the fleet of Ovando, and a selection of jewelry, coins, ceramics and weights found on a wreck Spanish in Punta Cana, also of the SIXTEENTH century. Continues with a stunning display of objects from the galleon Our Lady of the Pure and Clean Conception composed of jewels, precious stones or pottery Ming”, explains Leon.

Nicolás de Ovando arrived on the 15th of April, 1502, with 32 ships and 2,500 people, to Santo Domingo, to replace the government to Francisco de Bobadilla, who in turn had him removed from the command of Columbus. After being dismissed, Bobadilla decided to return to Castile, although Columbus is it discouraged. I had already learned the cadence of the hurricane. The former governor did not believe him and launched into the sea with 12 ships. Only survived three and he died drowned. Now, in the SEA you can see the falconets and lombard of this unsuccessful comeback, the oldest pieces.

The galleon Our Lady of the Pure and immaculate Conception, and departed Veracruz in 1641, loaded with 600 tons of products brought from China, gold and silver in bars, ingots and coins. A hurricane caused him to crash against the reefs dominicans on the 30th of October. The hull is flooded and the crew, terrified, took refuge in the castle of stern, but there was enough space for 250 passengers. Half died. Finally, the galleon broke up and sank about 15 metres. The cargo was lost, causing one of the greatest tragedies of economic of the Crown in that century.

A year later, he attempted to retrieve the cargo, but the storms and the pirates prevented. The incredible treasure was lost. In 1686, the marine English William Phips ' found. Removed 74 tons of silver coins, ingots, and emeralds. He was made a knight. The ship was forgotten for three centuries.

In 1968, the oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau organized an expedition to find the wreck. Found four cannons and two anchors. In 1978, the company Seaquest International Inc. unearthed, in turn, thousands of coins of Philip IV, trays, spoons, sticks, swords, gold chains, plus a trunk of 1440 coins. In 1981, the firm's Caribbean Salvage, with the permission of the Government, drew up to 3,000 coins more, jewelry and part of the valuable cargo of chinese porcelain.

And like this, many more stories of pirates, fleets, real and military convoys whose ships never reached their destination, but which experts have recovered and can now be admired in those shipyards actual Crown of Castile rose up in a distant and dangerous island.

Heritage interactive

The managers of the museum have wagered that visitors can interact with the story. Each ship you can get information about your date of the sinking, nationality or cargo that was transported in large touch screens, in addition to audiovisual made by the producer Claudio Missiego. The project coordinator Maribel Villalona, believes that the museum will serve to diversify the offer of tourism and culture dominican" and to encourage "activities that incorporate the cultural, historic and environmental elements of the City Colony." The museum has been funded with a loan from the Interamerican Development Bank and is the work of the architects Wilfredo Happy and Alexy Laces.

it Was the commodore of the Navy of War dominican Francisco Rivera Caminero, who in 1976 started a recovery operation of a ship that was being expoliada in the waters of the municipality of Miches. Shortly after, it was discovered that the ship belonged to the Fleet of Azogues [transported mercury from Almadén] in 1724. From there, the recovery of the underwater cultural heritage of the island began to become a reality, after dimes and bickering with foreign companies specialized in treasures. Some jobs that have ended in “one of the best museums dedicated to wrecks of the world”, say the experts.

Updated Date: 26 December 2019, 12:00

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