When King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden ordered the building of a powerful new navy ship, its designers ensured that it was to be the deadliest in the world. Equipped with specially built bronze cannons, the vessel boasted a shot that was almost as fast as sound. And it would therefore be a demonstration of the Scandinavian country’s military might.

The ship would become known as the Vasa, and on the day of its launch in 1628, crowds of people turned out in Stockholm to see it. Presumably, those citizens hoped to catch a glimpse of their country’s prize military machine. But in a tragic turn of events, the spectators were to witness a lot more than they had bargained for.

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