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Marine archeologists say that the ancient wreckage of a ship discovered in the seabed off the coast of Nagasaki, Japan, belongs to the ancient “lost fleet” of ships deployed by China’s 13th century Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.
Explorers found the 20-meter-long shipwreck some 65 feet off the coast of Nagasaki. The scientists used ultra-sound equipment buried about a meter deep in a sandy seabed. Archeologists believe the ship dates back to 1281, and was part of a 4,400-vessel fleet that China’s Mongol rulers deployed in a thwarted attempt to invade Japan.
CNN cited the head of the discovery team, who reported the ship’s well preserved and mostly intact 40-foot-long keel could go a long way to help researchers identify all the characteristics of the 67-foot warship.
Yoshifumi Ikeda, of Okinawa’s University of the Ryukyus, stated at a recent press conference in Nagasaki that This discovery was of major importance for our research. We are planning to expand search efforts and find further information that can help us restore the whole ship.
According to a contemporary account cited in the bookKhublai Khan’s Lost fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada, by maritime archaeologist James P. Delgado, the typhoon’s destruction of the over 4,000-vessel Yuan Dynasty invasion fleet created such a vast quantity of material wreckage that ‘a person could walk across from one point of land to another on a mass of wreckage, reported CNN.
After his first attack, Khan returned a second time to conquer the Japan. Japan mustered 40,000 samurai and other fighting men. Just as the samurai believed their country would be crushed under the Mongol yoke, an almost miraculous event occurred. A second typhoon roared ashore at Kyushu.
Khan’s 4,400 ships, only a few hundred rode out the towering waves and vicious winds. The Japanese were saved from Khan’s army and, to this day, call the storm that preserved Japan the “divine winds” or “kamikaze.”
Nearly all of the invaders drowned in the storm; those few thousand who made it to shore were hunted and killed without mercy by the samurai. Very few ever returned to tell the tale at Dadu.
Researchers believe the wood-planked ship was painted light gray and is among the more than 4,000 artifacts, including ceramic shards, bricks used for ballast, cannonballs and stone anchors [that] have been found in the vicinity of the wreck, linking it to the Yuan Dynasty invasion fleet.
Mad Mike’s America thanks CNN and About.com.
Had Kublai Khan conquered Japan, how would his victory have changed world history?