On Aug. 10, 1628, the people of Stockholm flocked to the harbor in droves to witness the making of history. Some even attended celebratory religious services in the morning, joining in the collective blessings the city was bestowing on what was to be a grand day for the nation.
Anticipation built as a crowd made up of every rank of society from commoners to visiting foreign dignitaries awaited the maiden voyage of the vessel built to be the crown jewel in the country’s fleet of powerful warships.
There were delays. At the last minute, a new captain needed to be found and a kerfuffle over unsatisfactory armaments had to be settled. But during the wait, spectators could entertain themselves by studying the art on display—hundreds of sculptures and carvings painted in bright colors and edged with gilt adorned the hull of the ship. Finally, in the late afternoon, Vasa was ready to set sail.