This isn’t the first time we’ve commented on how often we get the impression that the news we find tends to somehow end up focusing on certain topics at certain times. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.
The Welsh daily Wales Online has again published an article about the process of recovering and rebuilding a ship that sank in Newport harbour in approximately 1469.
This ship, of Basque origin, was over 30 m (100 ft) long and could hold 400 tons of cargo. Given the remains found, it was transporting wine between Portugal and Great Britain. And here is where that connection between articles appears almost at the same time.
On Tuesday, we blogged about a magnificent article that had been published in the Royal Geographical Society’s magazine Geographical on the Albaola shipyards and Basque maritime tradition. In that article, Xabier Agote, the president of the Albaola Shipyard Museum in Pasaia, made a historical reference that might have been written for that shipwreck the Welsh are recovering:
“Basque seafarers were prominent in ports across Europe, as well as in Canada. In the 15th century, about 80 per cent of the ships docking in Bristol were from the Basque Country. These merchant galleons came laden with iron ore, whale oil, wool from Castile and Bordeaux wine, in the days when Aquitaine was an English possession. In 1453 Aquitaine was annexed to France, but not be deterred, the Basques began shipping wine from Portugal.”
If we change the city Agote references from Bristol to Newport, we can see that they match up perfectly.
We’ve spoken about this shipwreck on many occasions, as well as its historical importance the Welsh and the Basques and on the preservation work being done on what remains of it, as well as the connections between that Welsh port and the Basque ones.
This article by Joshua Knapman reviews the history of the ship, how it was discovered, the plans for preservation, and the reconstruction that’s currently underway.
It just might be that we Basques have to travel to Newport to see the best-preserved ship in all our history (and perhaps of that era). It’s a trip we’d love to do, because it’s the tale of two nations, and an example of how, for centuries, we Basques “owned” the North Atlantic.
We’ll leave you with the article on the Wales Online article as well as the site for the Friends of the Newport Ship.
Gales Online – 16-1-2020 – Wales
The extraordinary medieval ship considered the best example of its kind in the world which is sat in a Newport warehouse
“Reassembling a 600-year-old ship from its original timbers is like doing a 3D jigsaw puzzle with 2,500 pieces, without the picture on the box” – that’s how Bob Evans, chairman of the Friends of the Newport Ship, describes the work being carried out on a fascinating historical find. The ship is the best example of its kind in the world.