Originally uploaded by status6. (Found this on Flickr when searching for ‘Vasa’ photos.)
A great example of why monarchs should stay out of fields like shipbuilding, the Vasa was a ship built at the instruction of the Swedish king in the early 1600’s. During construction, the king dictated the dimensions of the ship, and generally intimidated everyone so that when the ship failed its pre-launch stability test, no-one was prepared to tell the king.
Ultimately, the ship – the largest and most powerful in the Swedish fleet – sank less than 1 nautical mile after its maiden launch; over 300 years later, it was raised, and now lives in a museum.