Limón Community Studies Ancient Galleons Under The Caribbean Sea


Next step is to chemically analyze some found objects, to determine if they are Danish ships of the 18th century.

The Caribbean Sea keeps thousands of enigmas and stories, which go back to scenarios of centuries of past and the arrival of European ships to our shores. Part of this story still lives in silence and is unknown by the Caribbean communities.

One of them is the one that could count the remains of two galleons that are in the depths of the Cahuita National Park, which until then, has survived the force of the ocean surrounded by myths and legends.

But everything could change soon, thanks to a group of divers from the area and the community, who seek to clarify the origin of submerged ships.

Although the belief that they are pirate ships has been handed down from generation to generation, the strongest hypothesis is that the galleons located in the Caribbean correspond to the ships Fredericus IV and Christianus V, which history has given as lost.

“As children we saw cannons, bricks and iron bullets stuck in the bottom, also knives, which were all taken away, we did not pay attention to them because then they thought they had no value; for the locals, these were only the remains of pirate ships, “said Carlos Mairena, a tour guide who grew up in the area.

But the history and the investigation could indicate that they are the lost Danish galleons, that transported people enslaved from Africa and shipwrecked until the Costa Rican coast around 1710, according to María Suárez, journalist and coordinator of the Community Center of Diving Ambassadors and Ambassadors of the Caribbean , instance that carries out the investigation.

The expeditions of archaeological diving carried out in the place have allowed to collect historical objects such as bricks, cannons and even shackles, belonging to the remains of the galleons.

The yellowish bricks found in Cahuita will be compared chemically with others belonging to Danish ships from other parts of the world. The materials were brought by the Danish archaeologist Andreas Bloch, who will work for a year on the site and will collaborate on the research project.

If the hypothesis put forward by the Limonenses turns out to be true, Costa Rica hides under its waters the ships Fredericus IV and Christianus V , which is presumed to have landed on the Costa Rican coasts to more than 600 Africans, who were enslaved by the British, while others fled to the mountains of Talamanca.

Community work

A couple of years ago, some young people in the area had the desire to learn to dive, so they trained through the Community Diving Center Ambassadors and Ambassadors of the Caribbean. Now, these same young people collaborate in the study of galleons.

With the specialization of the divers in these sites, it seeks to open new sources of opportunities for young people in the Caribbean and generate offers of cultural underwater tourism.

“Our motto was to dive with purpose, for the conservation of the seas (…) now, we venture into a dimension of the community archaeological culture,” explained Suarez.

Thus, everything said by the fishermen and locals of Cahuita gradually became a hypothesis, “to find the identity of the ships, mixing scientific knowledge and ancestral knowledge”.

“They also took into account the few studies of the last 50 years that there are about these boats, some made by American archaeologists,” said the journalist.

From the center, it is also intended to educate the population on the management and importance of heritage that is located under water. “Having a trained and informed community is key to the care of underwater heritage,” said Suarez.

Limón Community Studies Ancient Galleons Under The Caribbean Sea

Cannons, shackles and other ancient materials have been collected during the diving expeditions carried out by the Limón community and archaeologists. (Photo courtesy of María Suárez)


“We are not historians, but we are making history”, is titled a memoir the IV Seminar “A Dialogue of Knowledge, Tasks and Duties in Community Archeology in the South Caribbean”, one of the actions to inform about advances in research of the submerged galleons.

The research project, which began in 2016, has had the support of the Limon community as well as the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), the University of Costa Rica (UCR) from its headquarters in the Caribbean and international universities like that of East Carolina.


Source: Semanario Universidad