Historical background of the WAPEN OF HAMBURG
In the 17th century, the German Reich could not offer its merchant ships protection through organized escorts because of its loose association and its powerlessness at sea. Especially in the Mediterranean, merchant ships could be captured again and again by the North African corsairs with their fast and agile ships .
In the years 1662 – 1667 the city of Hamburg lost a total of 13 merchant ships to pirates. The shipping of the city almost came to a standstill. Therefore, the citizens decided in 1667 to build two strong warships as “convoy ships” to accompany the merchant sailors. It was the Leopoldus Primus and the WAPEN VON HAMBURG. The Leopoldus Primus undertook 33 long voyages before being scrapped in 1705.
The WAPEN VON HAMBURG was built by a Dutch master shipbuilder at the Deichtor shipyard in Hamburg. After long consultations and negotiations, work began in the spring of 1667, when the keel was finally laid. The woodwork was completed in 1668, after which the guns were installed. The ship could then be put into service in 1669.
The decorations and sculptures were made under the direction of Christian Precht.
From 1669 the ship accompanied the trade trips to Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon and in the north to Spitsbergen. In October 1683, on the voyage to Cadiz, a fire broke out in the bow of the ship for unknown reasons, which quickly spread throughout the ship. During the crew’s attempts to extinguish it, the fire reached the powder chamber. A devastating explosion destroyed the ship. Admiral Berend Jacobsen Karpfanger and another 66 men were killed.
As a replacement for the first WAPEN VON HAMBURG, a new, second coat of arms was built by Hamburg in 1686 and 1687, which was used until 1719.
On November 12, 1720, the third ship of this name, the Wapen von Hamburg (III), was launched. There is still a contemporary shipyard model on a scale of 1:16 that can be viewed in the Museum of Hamburg History .
Information on the history of the three ships, plans and photos of the shipyard model are contained in the book by Heinrich Reincke and Bernhard Schulze, “Das Hamburgische Convoyschiff Wapen von Hamburg III”, Arbeitskreis Historischer Schiffbau eV, Cologne and Museum of Hamburg History, ISBN 3-931874 -00-2, Weyer’s print, Brilon 1998.
On this webpage, the current spelling “Wappen von Hamburg” is used when naming the files, so that the search engines can find this page more easily. However, the historically correct name of the ship is “Wapen von Hamburg” in the spelling of the time.