FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A 282-Year-Old British East India Company Merchant Ship?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 11,000 times allegedly shows a 282-year-old East India Company ship sailing into London for the first time since 1787.

“A 282 year old East India Trading Company Ship returns to London for the first time since 1787,” reads the caption.

Verdict: False

The photo actually shows a replica of a Swedish East India Company merchant ship built in 2005.

Fact Check:

The East India Company, a British trading company that operated from 1600 to 1874, engaged in the trading of spices, silk, indigo and other products with Southeast Asia and India. It eventually became an agent of British imperialism in the region, according to BBC. (RELATED: No, British Parliament Didn’t Ban Lipstick In 1770 For Fear It Had ‘The Power To Seduce Men Into Marriage’)

A viral post that has been shared more than 11,000 times falsely alleged the image shows a 282-year-old merchant vessel owned by that British company as it “returns to London for the first time since 1787.” Similar claims have also cropped up on Twitter.

Through a reverse image search, the Daily Caller discovered that the ship has been misidentified. The photo, found on the BBC News website, actually shows a replica of the Swedish East India Company‘s Götheborg merchant ship traveling down the Thames River. That replica was built in 2005.

The Swedish East India Company constructed the original Götheborg ship roughly 282 years ago in 1738. It sank off the coast of Sweden in 1745, according to the replica’s website.

In May 2007, the replica merchant ship sailed to London as part of a two-year voyage recreating the trade routes the original ship would have taken, according to BBC News. It has also visited China, South Africa, and various European countries.

“The ship, modelled on the original 18th Century Swedish ship the Gothenburg (sic), fired her cannon to salute London at Tower Bridge,” states the BBC article.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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