British warship identified nearly three centuries after sinking off the coast of Florida

  • The remains of a British warship that sank in 1742 have been identified off the coast of Florida.

  • The ship's crew was marooned for 66 days on Garden Key.

  • Archaeologists say they discovered cannons from the ship close to the main wreck site.

Archaeologists have identified the remains of a British warship that sank off the coast of Florida nearly three centuries ago.

The HMS Tyger ran aground on the coral reefs of Dry Tortugas and left its crew stranded on Garden Key in 1742 during the War of Jenkins' Ear between Britain and Spain.

Its remains were initially discovered in 1993, but experts now say they have definitive evidence that it's the British 50-gun man-of-war ship.

A 2021 survey of the site uncovered five cannons close to the wreck site, which were "determined to be British six and nine-pound cannons thrown overboard when HMS Tyger first ran aground," according to the National Park Service.

The Park Service also shared some of the dramatic story of the ship's roughly 300-person crew.

It said the group was left marooned for 66 days on the then-deserted island of Garden Key, battling "heat, mosquitoes, and thirst while attempting to escape."

Despite their seemingly perilous situation, the Park Service said the crew was still able to build the island's first fortifications.

"Archeological finds are exciting, but connecting those finds to the historical record helps us tell the stories of the people that came before us and the events they experienced," Dry Tortugas National Park Manager James Crutchfield said in a press release.

"This particular story is one of perseverance and survival. National parks help to protect these untold stories as they come to light," he added.

Concreted cannonballs from the HMS Tyger on the seafloor.
Cannonballs from the HMS Tyger on the seafloor.Brett Seymour/NPS

The remains of the ship are the sovereign property of the British Government, the Park Service added, while also noting that wrecks at Dry Tortugas were subject to "both natural and cultural degradation" caused by things like storms or vandalism.

It said it would continue to research the site while also helping to preserve the HMS Tyger.

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