Taken by the Sea: 11 Real-life Shipwrecks


The Mary Rose

King Henry VIII of England watched the "fairest flower of all the ships that ever sailed" capsize in a brief windstorm in 1545. By the middle of the 16th century, sea vessels were making the transition between floating fortresses and true battleships, and England's Mary Rose was one of the first ships with a broadside (guns fitted to the side of a ship above the water line).

Leaving from Southsea, England, on a mission to intercept French ships that had been raiding the coast, she carried 700 crew members and at least 90 guns. This type of armament may have made her top heavy, because a squall landed her upside down in a matter of moments. The broadside finished off the disaster: Water immediately rushed into the gun ports, and the ship sank to the sea floor before the crew could escape. More than 650 sailors died in the shipwreck. Salvagers recovered the Mary Rose in 1982, and she now sits in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in Hampshire, England.