The sound came booming across the water, the rumbling of cannon fire mixed with the shrieks of men. Smoke from the cannons draped the ship in a haze.

Suddenly the ship began to roll. After a few moments a powerful explosion was heard and the sky was turned blood red. At noon, June 1st 1676, the Royal ship Kronan ('The Crown') capsized, exploded and sank off the eastern coast of the Baltic island of Öland. Kronan sank before the beginning of an action between the Swedish and the allied Danish-Dutch fleet, known in Swedish history, as "The Battle of Southern Öland". The outcome of the battle makes it one of the greatest naval catastrophes ever in Swedish history; Kronan was lost, together with 800 men. Only 50 survived. Below: Oil painting by Claus Möinichen (1686), Fredriksborgs Castle Denmark.


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