Vasa

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A Swedish (1523-1654) and Polish (1587-1668) royal house.

Kings of Sweden

John III married Catherine Jagiello, the sister of Sigismund II of Poland, and when Sigismund died without male heir their son was elected king of Poland as Sigismund III in 1587. On John's death Sigismund also gained the Swedish throne

Kings of Sweden and Poland

Sigismund was Catholic, however, which led to his losing the throne in Sweden. His uncle Charles IX succeeded him. We thus have two Houses of Vasa from this point onwards: the senior, Catholic branch ruling in Poland, and the cadet, Protestant branch ruling in Sweden. This arrangement led to numerous wars between the two states.

Kings of Poland

After John, the Polish Vasa died out.

Kings and Queens of Sweden

Christina abdicated and became a Catholic, and the throne of Sweden passed to the House of Zwëibrucken, a cadet branch of the Wittelsbachs.


The Vasa (also spelled "Wasa") is a famous ship built for the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus between the years 1626 and 1628. On August 10 the Vasa set sail on her maiden voyage to the harbor of Stockholm. In the harbor a gust of wind forced the ship on her portside, after which water started flowing in through her open gun ports, and she soon sunk.

Anders Franzen thought of the possibility of recovering wrecks from the Baltic waters, because he figured that these waters were free from the shipworm Teredo navalis. He started looking for the Vasa, and found her in an upright position at a depth of 32 meters. The wreck was lifted in a relatively straightforward way, by digging six tunnels under the hull, through which steel cables were to be attached to a lifting pontoon. The ship was lifted and brought to shallower water, were she was to be made watertight for the final lift. Her gun ports were closed by means of temporary lids, and all the holes from the iron bolts, which had all rusted away, where plugged. The final lift took place on April 24 1961, after which she was put in a dry dock.

Conservation of the ship itself was done using polyethylene glycol, a method that was also used years later in the conservation process of the Mary Rose. The Vasa was sprayed with this glycol during 17 years, followed by slowly drying. Recent developments have shown that this conservation method, in time, makes the wood brittle and fragile.

Over 26,000 artifacts have been found, including six original sails, still folded up. After the lifting of the wreck, the wreck site was searched for artifacts and over 700 sculptures were found. These sculptures were once attached to the ship, but the bolts had rusted away, causing the sculptures to fall to the bottom.

The ship can be seen in the Vasa museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

See also


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