|Santa María was Columbusís flagship on his first and most remembered voyage, although he did not like the ship because it was large and slow. Santa María ran aground on a sandbar near what is now Cap Haïtien, Haïti, on Christmas Eve of 1492. In recent decades, a number of expeditions have searched for the remains. Famous historians have claimed to know where it is. Some adventurers have even claimed to have located the wreck, but nothing has ever come of any of these claims.|
In 1494 and 1495, hurricanes struck Bahía Isabela, located in
what is now the República Dominicana. The storms destroyed at least
eight ships belonging to the first European colony in the New World. Gallega,
Maríagalante, Cardera, and
San Juan were from Columbusís second fleet.
Only Niña survived the disasters. No wonder it was Columbusís
Several expeditions have searched in vain for the lost ships that lie buried under at least three meters of mud, dead coral, and debris. While the thick blanket of sediments is difficult to penetrate, it would preserve organic materials very well.
In the mid-1980s, our colleague Dr. Roger Smith searched St. Annís Bay, Jamaica, for Columbusís last two shipsóCapitana and Santiago de Palos. The story of how Columbus was marooned there for a year is a fascinating tale. The team spent several summers surveying the Bay but did not find the lost vessels. Nevertheless, the work did locate a number of later, historically signficant archaeological remains.