The Sao Idefonso was a Portuguese flag vessel that sank in 1527 on the Etoile reef of southern Madagascar. Investigation missions have attested to the presence on the wreck site of various artifacts, copper ingots and cannons, so it appears to be one of the very few wrecks in the world bearing witness to the first decades of the Portuguese explorations of the Indian Ocean and of exchanges between Europe and the Far East.

The Sao Idefonso thus was a privileged witness that could help to increase archaeological and cultural knowledge on maritime trade but it has since been plundered and there are no more remains in situ. Artifacts that were illegally recovered from the wreck are still in circulation, in particular in Madagascar.

Silk Road On the Map

Country profile

Capital: Antananarivo
Region: Africa

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