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Cannons

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History

The maiden voyage of the Amsterdam was planned from the Dutch island Texel to the settlement Batavia in the East Indies. The ship, commanded by the 33-year-old captain Willem Klump, had 203 crew, 127 soldiers, and 5 passengers. The Amsterdam was laden with textiles, wine, stone ballast, cannon, paper, pens, pipes, domestic goods and 27 chests of silver guilder coins. The whole cargo would be worth several million euros in modern money.

On 15 November 1748 the ship made its first attempt but returned on 19 November 1748 due to an adverse wind. The ship made a second attempt on 21 November 1748, which also failed and from which the ship returned on 6 December 1748. The third attempt was made on 8 January 1749. The Amsterdam had problems in the English Channel tacking into a strong westerly storm. For many days she got no further than Beachy Head near Eastbourne. Black Death appeared amongst the crew and a mutiny broke out. Finally the rudder broke off and the ship, helpless in a storm, grounded in the mud and sand of in the bay ofBulverhythe on 26 January 1749, 5 km to the west of Hastings.

She began to sink into the mud, where much of the keel remains today, perfectly preserved. Some of the cargo, including silver coinage, was removed for safekeeping by local authorities. There was some looting and English troops had to be called in to bring the situation to order. The crew were looked after locally before being returned to the Netherlands.

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