In and around the Baltic Sea, extensive trading took place during the 17th century. Attempts to control Baltic Sea trade were made not only by the various nations of the region, but by German merchant towns. Conflicts often arose, such as the longstanding battles between Poland and Sweden in the 1620s. A key strategic tactic of Swedish warfare was to block Polish ports and collect customs duties from neutral merchant ships.
During a naval blockade, enemy ports, estuaries and shipping routes are blocked off or guarded. Such blockades could last from early spring to late autumn.
In 1627, the Swedes blocked Danzig (present-day Gdańsk) and the mouth of the Vistula River. One of the ships that was part of the blockade was named Solen.
Disease combined with autumn storms and a lack of provisions compelled the Swedes to end their blockade in November that same year. When the blockade was lifted, the Swedish ships were spread out. The trapped Polish fleet then seized the chance to break free and attack the nearest Swedish ships. The Polish ships were well manned with army troops and succeeded in boarding Solen.
The battle surged back and forth, but when the Poles gained an advantage, the Swedes set fire to the gunpowder stores. Soon after, the ship exploded and disappeared into the depths.
The Solen wreck was discovered in 1969, at a depth of 12–14 metres, during construction work in the northern port of Gdańsk. A significant part of the ship’s bottom was well preserved, covered in ballast stone. The position, appearance, and nearly 6,000 objects salvaged from the wreckage indicated that it was the remains of Solen that had been uncovered.