Mary Rose – Ship Built for War


One of the main attractions of Portsmouth is the “Mary Rose”, a sunken warship that was brought to the surface in the “action of the century” after being underwater for centuries, thus becoming a museum that attracts an increasing number of tourists every year.

Launched in 1511, during the reign of Henry VIII Tudor, she was a symbol of an era and a dominant maritime dynasty. The name that was proudly given to her also speaks of his importance. It is assumed that the name Mary was given after King Henry’s sister, while the rose is the emblem of the Tudor dynasty.

Serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland and Brittany, after a refit in 1535 she was sent on her last voyage. She sank in 1545 in the Solent, a strait east of the Isle of Wight, after an action in which she led an attack on the galleys of the invading French fleet.

Location of the wreck of the Mary Rose was discovered in 1971 and recovered on October 11, 1982 in one of the most complex and expensive maritime salvage projects in history. The remaining part of the ship and the thousands of artefacts found are of great value as a time capsule from the Tudor period. The excavation and raising was a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology, comparable in complexity and cost to the salvage of the 17th-century Swedish warship Vasa in 1961.

The Mary Rose was one of the largest ships in the English Navy for over three decades, as well as one of the earliest examples of a purpose-built warship, armed with the most modern guns of the time that could fire through newly invented gun ports. Several theories have attempted to explain the Mary Rose’s demise based on historical records, 16th-century shipbuilding knowledge, and modern experiments. The exact cause of the sinking is still subject to conflicting testimonies and a lack of conclusive evidence.

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