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(Photo: Brandon Clifford)

From The Independent (UK):

More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti. It’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries.

“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said the leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site, one of America’s top  underwater archaeological investigators, Barry Clifford.

“The Haitian government has been extremely helpful – and we now need to continue working  with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck,” he said.

All questions aside of whether or not Columbus deserves his status as an American icon, it is still a cool find. Just about every first-grader in America learns his fleet by name: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

According to the article, much of the site has already been looted since the unidentified wreck was first discovered in 2003. But there's still enough down there to bring to the surface and preserve in a Haitian museum.

Update 1:

From the comments, CanisMaximus links to a terrific synopsis of Columbus' New World atrocities, as well as a primer on Bartolome de la Casas, an American explorer more worthy of national adulation:

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