Sea Venture

This Day in History

In May of 1609, nine ships under the charge of Sir George Somers set sail from the Motherland in order to bring much-needed supplies to the foundling colony of Virginia in the New World.  

The fleet also brought along approximately 500 would-be colonists anxious to help settle this vast and foreign land.

The journey would not be without its perils and would certainly not be a direct trip as Mother Nature had something entirely different in mind.

Portrait of Admiral SIr George Somers

Well into the passage across the Atlantic, the fleet became enveloped in a massive hurricane and on this day in 1609, the mighty Sea Venture found herself separated from the other eight ships. 

After three days of being tossed about violently by perilously strong winds and dangerous whitecaps, the battered vessel finally crashed into the coast of what is now known as Bermuda.

Thankfully, all of the passengers arrived unharmed and the industrious crew, under the direction of Somers and Sir Thomas Gates, built two new sailing ships and in just a mere nine months time were ready again to bravely set sail for the Virginia colony at Jamestown.

Coat of arms of Bermuda with a depiction of the Sea Venture

The two sturdy cedar vessels were aptly named the Deliverance and Patience!

Interestingly, word of the mishap of the Sea Venture quickly travelled back to England and it is firmly believed that the various accounts were then stitched together by none other than William Shakespeare, the world’s greatest wordsmith.  

The final product of this harrowing true story brought to life by the brilliant English author: The Tempest.


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