TIME Haiti

Shipwreck off Haiti May Be Columbus’ Long-Lost Flagship

Underwater explorers believe they have found the shipwreck of Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria. The vessel sank in 1492, and its disappearance has remained a mystery for centuries

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Divers may have found the wreckage of Christopher Columbus’ flagship off the northern coast of Haiti.

If the remains turn out to be the Italian explorer’s Santa Maria, the location of which has remained a mystery since it sank more than five centuries ago, it will prove one of the most monumental archaeological discoveries from the seabed of all time.

“It is the Mount Everest of shipwrecks for me,” Barry Clifford, the world-renowned underwater treasure hunter who found the wreck, told CNN.

Clifford believes the iconic vessel sank during a Caribbean storm in 1492, causing Columbus to return to Spain with just the two smaller ships of his expedition.

“Every single piece fits. Now, of course, we have to go through the whole archeological process, and we plan to do that within the next few months, but I feel very confident that we’ve discovered the site.”

Clifford is working with the Haitian government to preserve the remains.

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