Christopher Columbus’s Santa Maria wreck ‘found’…Re-posted from the BBC

Reposted with permission from the BBC (article from May 15, 2014)
Kind regards,
BBC News Permissions Team (EO) October 10th, 2022

A US underwater investigator has said he believes he has found the wreck of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus’s famed expedition.

Barry Clifford said evidence “strongly suggests” a ruin off Haiti’s north coast is the Santa Maria.

Mr. Clifford’s team has measured and taken photos of the wreck.

He says he is working with the Haitian government to protect the site for a more detailed investigation.

The Santa Maria, along with the La Nina and La Pinta, were part of Columbus’s expedition in 1492, which explored islands in the Caribbean in an attempt to find a westward passage to Asia.

The flagship was lost during the expedition, shortly before Columbus returned to Spain.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’s famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said Mr. Clifford.

Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506)

Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506)

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa between August and October 1451. His father was a weaver and small-time merchant. As a teenager, Christopher went to sea, travelled extensively and eventually made Portugal his base. It was here that he initially attempted to gain royal patronage for a westward voyage to the Orient – his ‘enterprise of the Indies’.

When this failed, and appeals to the French and English courts were also rejected, Columbus found himself in Spain, still struggling to win backing for his project. Finally, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor the expedition, and on 3 August 1492, Columbus and his fleet of three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Niña, set sail across the Atlantic.

Read more about Christopher Columbus at;

  • The Santa Maria left Spain in August 1492, along with La Pinta and La Nina, sailing westward
  • It was the largest ship in the expedition, about 117ft (36m) long
  • The ship ran aground on a reef near Haiti on Christmas Day, 1492
  • Columbus told his crew to strip timbers from the ship to build an outpost or fort nearby, leaving sailors behind while he returned to Spain
  • The fort, known as La Navidad, was found destroyed upon Columbus’s return to the island he called Hispanola

Sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Smithsonian Magazine

“I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first-ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America,” he added.

Mr. Clifford said he identified the potential location of the Santa Maria through earlier archaeological findings that pinpointed a likely location for Columbus’s fort – a building that experts always thought was erected near to where the ship ran aground.

He also used information from the explorer’s diary, and a recent diving mission near the site further burnished Mr. Clifford’s belief the wreck was the Santa Maria.

Mr. Clifford told US broadcaster CNN the “smoking gun” was a cannon of 15th Century design found at the site.

A marine archaeologist who accompanied Mr. Clifford on that mission told the newspaper there was “very compelling evidence” but an excavation of the site would be necessary to confirm the wreck’s identity.

Further investigation will be supported by the government of Haiti and the History Channel, which plans to make a documentary program about the wreck.

Mr. Clifford is best known for the excavation of the first fully verified pirate shipwreck, the Whydah read more at

Special thanks to the BBC NEWS TEAM from WE THE KIDS!

So, Kids, do your own research did Mr. Clifford find the wreckage of Santa Maria what do you think? Is this article considered a primary source or a secondary source?

Your thoughts? Contact me at

Thank you for reading.

Now go out and have a good day!

Communication Director, Marc Urbach, teacher-educator

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