Divers have found the wreck of a 17th century warship off the coast of Britain's Great Yarmouth. The ship, with the later King James II aboard, ran into a sandbar and perished in an hour.
The wreck was discovered back in 2007, but the University of East Anglia only announced the unusual find on Friday. The find was made in international waters and first had to be secured. In the process, it took several years before it could be identified.
British archaeologists speak of one of the most important finds in maritime history. Professor Claire Jowitt of the University of East Anglia says the discovery sheds new light on “seventeenth-century social, political and maritime history.”
Among the items found at the wreck were cannons, cutlery, unopened bottles of wine, glasses in a wooden case, and the ship's bell. The Gloucester ran into a sandbar in 1682 after an argument between James and the pilot over the ship's course.
The ship sank within a short time. Hundreds of crew members lost their lives. The number of casualties was so high because James refused to leave the sinking ship for a long time. According to the rules, the crew was only allowed to disembark after him. James himself narrowly survived the disaster.
From 1685 to 1688 he ruled England, Ireland and Scotland as James II. He was the last Roman Catholic British king. The exact location of the Gloucester is not disclosed.