Chinese warship ‘Jingyuan’ found in Yellow sea century after it was lost


Divers have discovered the wreck a Chinese warship a century after it was lost to the depths of the Yellow sea.

Researchers had been hunting for several years before they found the incredible ‘time capsule’ of a wreck. 

It was identified thanks to a gold-gilded wooden plaque with Jingyuan written on it.

It went down in the Yellow sea during the first Sino-Japanese war in September 1894, with only seven out of 270 crewmen surviving.

Experts managed to pinpoint the site by looking through historical documents and photographs taken by a a Japanese sailor before it sank. 

The ship was built in a German shipyard called Vulkan and then incorporated into a Chinese fleet in the late 1880s. 

Jingyuan was referred to as a ‘gunboat’ by its German designers but was referred to as a cruiser by the Chinese, despite the fact it had large calibre guns. 

Researchers led by China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration say that the ship is 39 feet (12 metres) below the surface.

Experts say that there are more than 500 relics on the ship including old weapons, ceramics and leather goods, writes CNN.

It went down during a conflict between the Qing Empire which ruled China until 1912 and the Empire of Japan.      

The ship is resting upside-down, experts say.  

‘It’s like a time capsule sealing history inside,’ Jiang Bo, an archaeologist at the National Centre of Underwater Cultural Heritage in China told Pickle.

Jingyuan, which had a sister ship called Laiyuan, was divided into 66 waterproof compartments that were filled with cork.

The ship’s main weapon was a eight-inch (20cm) Krupp cannon with two six-inch (15cm) Krupp guns on either side of the deck.

‘Even the German navy didn’t have a ship with so many cutting-edge technologies’, Dr Bo said.

‘It’s a crucial reference for us to better understand the world’s naval history.’

The ship also had two 1.8-inch (5cm) long guns, five 1.5 inch (4cm) Hotchkiss guns and two torpedo tubes.

When Jingyuan and Laiyuan arrived in China in 1888 they were assigned to the Beiyang Fleet.

Both ships were in the Battle of the Yalu River on 17 September 1894.

Early on in the battle, the captain of Laiyuan moved in agressively against the Japanese squardron but was severely damaged as a result.

The Japanese flying squadron, led by Admiral Tsuboi Kozo, fired at Jingyuan for more than an hour and at 16:48 the ship burst into flames.

After a large explosion it rolled over and sank, reports say.

The first Sino-Japanese War was between 25 July 1894 and 17th April 1895.

The Qing Empire and the Empire of Japan were mainly fighting for influence over Korea and after more than six months of fighting the Qing government initiated the peace process.

It was the first time that regional dominance in East Asia was shifted from China to Japan.




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