French Frigate Méduse

On July 2nd in 1816 the French frigate Méduse struck the Bank of Arguin and 151 people on board had to be evacuated on an improvised raft, a case immortalised by Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa.

The famous painting above:

On 5 July 1816, at least 147 people were set adrift on a hurriedly constructed raft; all but 15 died in the 13 days before their rescue, and those who survived endured starvation and dehydration and practised cannibalism. The event became an international scandal, in part because its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain.

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