The Tragic History of the Sea is a collectanea of 12 accounts on Portuguese shipwrecks occurred between 1552 and 1602, compiled by Bernardo Gomes de Brito in 1735-36. The goal of the panel is to gather the opinions, not only literary but of several areas to disclose the characteristics of this work.
On the XVI and XVII centuries, beyond the Portuguese deeds, maritime voyage adversities have taken place. To be precise, one in each five ships that left Lisbon on the way to India was shipwrecked. On the second half of the XVI century and the first of the XVII century, the rate of losses reached almost 25%. Furthermore, in almost 40% of the events, it is not known why the calamity happened, as all the crew, passengers and cargo sank. However direct and indirect, testimonies circulated widely as fascicles, captivating people that way. Twelve accounts, some of them were not published, were collected in 1735 and 1736 by Bernardo Gomes de Brito in two tomes, with the title Tragic History of the Sea. The collectanea, which has been acknowledged and appreciated as a literary work, is a fruitful source, which provides information either historical, nautical and geographical as well as zoological, botanical, psychological, anthropological, among other areas. In addition to predecessor researchers such as Charles Ralph Boxer, Giulia Lanciani and António Manuel Andrade Moniz, the subject still incites those who are interested to produce works and academic dissertations. Nevertheless, the approach has focused rather the literary interpretation, without relating the mentioned information to other areas. In those circumstances, the present panel intends to disclose the characteristics of the shipwreck accounts, including the ones not compiled in the Tragic History of the Sea and making the analysis under diversified points of view.