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stepping stones of maritime history


Maria Adriana was built in 1730 by the VOC in a VOC yard in Rotterdam, and sailed for the VOC chamber of Zeeland. She made one successful journey to the Dutch holdings in Asia and back to the Netherlands, and was lost on her second journey. In January, 1743, Maria Adriana departed Batavia to make her second journey home to Patria.

The last definitive record of the ship is from nine months later, in September 1743, when Maria Adriana was recorded leaving the Dutch victualing station at the Cape of Good Hope. Maria Adriana was lost somewhere between the Cape of Good Hope and Patria, taking with her all on board.

Brederode (1770)

It is unknown where exactly the Maria Adriana went down, but it is likely that she sunk near the Isles of Scilly or close to Cornwall in early 1744. Two sources from English archives mention a Dutch ship sinking near the Isles of Scilly around the correct time, and the dead that washed up on shore from this wreck were buried at the parish church.

Several diving expeditions in the 1990s recovered items that may be from the wreck of Maria Adriana, and although the Dutch have granted salvage contracts for the wreck, it has to date not been definitively identified.


Type: East indiaman

Built: 1730

VOC Chamber: Zeeland

Yard: Rotterdam

Tonnage: 650

Length: 130 ft

Captain on final voyage: Jan Elswout

complement: 77

Craftsmen on board: 2

VOC officials on board: 9

Passengers on board: 1

A replica of the VOC ship Amsterdam, the original built in 1748.


According to Pickford '95, the wreck would lie near the Isles of Scilly (the ship is said to have been located, but nothing has been recovered yet).

According to Marx, the Maria Adriana perished on the south coast of the island of Ascension (in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) and a few months later 97 survivors were brought to the Netherlands by an English ship for which the English were richly rewarded by the VOC (Marx, 2009) .


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