300-Year-Old British Warship Found Off US Coast


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
Font Size:

The rediscovery of an 18th-century British warship was quietly announced in late 2023 before finding major attention in March.

Archaeologists working with the U.S. National Parks Service (NPS) identified the remnants of Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Tyger next to the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, which spans a handful of islands, according to the study published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The incredible ship was constructed in 1647 and sunk after running aground along Florida’s treacherous coast, NPS detailed in March.

The ship’s 300 crew members managed to survive the wreck, spending at least 66 days on an island known as Garden Key, the largest in the Dry Tortugas. The men aboard were capable enough to build basic fortifications to stave-off “heat, mosquitos, and thirst,” and even made makeshift boats out of the remains of the HMS Tyger, NPS wrote.

“After a failed attack on a Spanish vessel, the surviving crew burned the remains of Tyger to ensure its guns did not fall into enemy hands,” the NPS noted, The Jerusalem Post reported. The survivors reportedly then used their makeshift boats to travel more than 1,000 kilometers to Jamaica. (RELATED: Father-Daughter Duo Makes Incredible Historical Discovery During Fishing Trip)

The wreck was originally found in 1993, according to the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. But the true identity of the ship was unknown until 2023, when new evidence confirmed it was definitely the HMS Tyger, the journal said. “Archeological finds are exciting, but connecting those finds to the historical record helps us tell the stories of the people that came before us and the events they experienced,” Dry Tortugas park manager James Crutchfield told the The Jerusalem Post. “This particular story is one of perseverance and survival. National parks help to protect these untold stories as they come to light.”

Even old log books were found, detailing the final days of HMS Tyger’s existence before the ship finally sank, according to the outlet. In accordance with international treaties, the wreck and all of the artefacts belong to the British Government, NPS wrote.