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Monday, May 21, 2007

More thoughts on the storm in the Shetlands in early August 1652

I have thought, several times, that I had finally understood the extent of damage to the Dutch fleet from the storm in the Shetlands in early August 1653. Then, I have found new information that indicated that the impact was greater than I had thought. Published sources that I have seen only mention the loss of two warships: the Sint Pieter, commanded by Isaac de Jongh, and the Amsterdam, commanded by Barent Pietersz Dorrevelt. I suspected that more ships had been lost, as there were ships and captains not mentioned again after August. I really had no idea about the extent of damage to ships, as the published sources only spoke in generalities. We found that at least four large Amsterdam Directors' ships capsized in the storm and were lost. I had known that the fleet was scattered, but it turns out that many hired ships were damaged and were discarded rather than be repaired. I still do not have a definitive list of damaged ships, because there are still one or two "mystery ships", yet to be identified. The problem is greater because many captains were shuttled between ships, very few months. You cannot make any assumptions on captains and ships. You need to find the exact names for a given date. The lists are largely there, thankfully.

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