Ship building in Santa Cruz de La Palma

La Verdad, immortalised in crochet

Santa Cruz used to be the third biggest port in the Spanish empire, after Cadiz and Antwerp. So perhaps it’s not surprising that it also used to be quite a big shipyard. Some 90 ships were built there between 1809 and 1948. In fact I was recently told that the chestnut trees weren’t introduced for the chestnuts: they were mostly for the wood, for shipbuilding.

One of the biggest was La Verdad, built in 1873. It was built Sebastian Lemus Arozena and by owned by Juan Yanes who used it to trade around the Canary Islands, and particularly to Cuba and Venezuela. The plans were exhibited at the Philadelphia Exhibition, where they won a gold medal. Sadly, La Verdad sank in a hurricane off Bermuda in 1899.

I don’t suppose it would be any comfort to the families of the sailors who drowned, but La Verdad gets a small part in one story in my anthology of children’s stories about La Palma’s amazing sky, “The Seer’s Stone”. The book should is  on sale on my website, on Amazon, and a various places around the island.

UPDATE: La Verdad didn’t sink. It caught on a coral reef and the entire crew escaped with their lives. The cargo was recovered and somebody even salvaged the bell.