The Swedish king Gustav II Adolf had the Vasa ship built in the late 1620s. According to historians, the king wanted to show with the decorations that he was Sweden's true holder of the throne, demonstrate his power and justify the war that was going on against Poland.

Both the Polish king Sigismund and Gustav II Adolf were grandsons of Gustav Vasa and considered themselves entitled to the Swedish throne. The fact that Sigismund was a Catholic, and not a Protestant, also contributed to the cousins being enemies.

Unique time capsule

But the Vasa ship sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and has since become a unique time capsule from the early 1600s.

Watch the whole of Vetenskapens värld – Vasaskeppets secrets on SVT play or on 25/9 at 20 on SVT1.