With the passing of the years public interest in old time sailing ships is on the increase, as witness the preservation of our own Victory—Nelson's flagship, in Portsmouth, the original Cutty Sark in Greenwich, while other sea-faring nations are not behind hand in preserving old ships, for example the Constellation built in 1797 and the'oldest United States warship, now dedicated as a national shrine in Baltimore Harbour.
Full size replicas of famous old ships have been built and sailed, for example, Columbus ship Santa Maria made by the Spanish Government, the Mayflower a joint Anglo-American effort, and the Viking ship which visited several European ports to commemorate the exploits of the Norsemen. Valuable as are these replicas nothing can compare with an authentic original, and in that respect the world has been enriched by the devotion and technical skill of the Swedes in raising the Vasa from the depths of the sea.
The Vasa, the pride and the flagship of the Swedish Navy, foundered in 1628 in Stockholm harbour, and there she remained submerged until 1961; but thanks to northern waters being relatively free from destructive wood-worm, and to the preservative effect of the slime and mud on the sea bed, practically every part of the ship has been recovered including a wealth of superb carving and decorative enrichments as well as guns and other equipment. Thus for the first time it has become possible to personally inspect the shipwrights' art and accomplishments of 300 years ago and thereby adding incontrovertible authority to our knowledge of the subject.