A reliable source for shipwrecks is the many sea battles through history.
- Sea Peoples Battle. Sometime in
1190-1176 BC, Egypt was attacked by a large enemy navy of unknown origin. The Egyptian navy under Ramses III was victorious. This is the earliest known naval battle.
If you visit the Habu Temple outside Luxor in Egypt, you can see illustrations from
the battle engraved on a huge wall.
- Battle of
Salamis, 480 BC, Greece. A Greek navy of about 380 ships (ca 200
triremes) defeated the Persian navy of about 600 ships.
According to Herodotus, this was the decisive point in the Greek-Persian war.
of the Egadi Islands, 241 BC. This battle was off Sicily and a Roman
victory (c 200 ships) against Carthage (c 170 ships), which concluded the
First Punic War. Ca 50-60 ships were sunk during the battle that lasted ca
4 hours. The probable wrecks
of two Punic warships have been found.
- Actium Battle,
western Greece. This was the Roman victory at Actium against Mark Anthony and Cleopatra in 31 BC. 350
enemy ships were captured. From them, about 35 bronze rams were taken
to decorate the Actian Naval Monument.
The rams are now gone from the monument, but the fittings are still there. Ref Les dossiers
d'archÚologie, Editions Faton, juin 1993.
- Swedish-Danish Sea Battles of 1565, Baltic Sea
- Naval Battle of Lepanto,
1571, Greece. This was a major battle between a Turkish and a Christian fleet, involving about 400
galleys. Turkey lost the battle.
- Swedish-Russian Sea Battles of 1790, Baltic Sea
Battle of Aboukir, 1798, Egypt. Also known as the
Battle of the Nile. England and France were fighting for the control over
Egypt. The French navy was anchored at Aboukir, close to Alexandria. No attack was expected and most of the
crew were on land. Meanwhile, the English navy under Lord Nelson managed to reach Aboukir
unnoticed and attacked the anchored fleet by surprise. The French commander
Brueys kept issuing commands even after having both legs shot off. On
another ship, the French admiral Dupetit-Thouars also stayed in command,
even after having both arms and one leg shot off. But such heroism didn't
help, there was no time to load the guns, so 40 French ships were sunk and
only 4 frigates escaped. The English lost no ship.
- Tsushima Battle, 1905. The
Japanese Navy totally defeated the Russian Navy. Twenty Russian ships were sunk and another five were
captured. Only four Russian ships managed to reach safety at Vladivostok. As a result of the Russian
defeat, Japan kept the military base at Port Arthur.
- Jutland Battle, 1916,
North Sea. Having lost several ships and thousands of lives, both Germany and Britain retreated from
each other. Some of the sunken ships are
popular diving objects.
page by Per ┼kesson, rev