Reference to first Scottish ship sailing to America found
The William sailed from Aberdeen harbour in 1596 to 'the new fund land' in North America.
The earliest known reference to a Scottish ship sailing to America has been discovered in Aberdeen.
According to documents in the city's archive, the vessel, known as the William, sailed from the city's harbour in 1596.
The find was made by Aberdeen University researcher Thomas Brochard.
Until now, a Dundee-based vessel called The Gift of God was thought to have been the first Scottish vessel to make the crossing.
The documents reveal an entry relating to the William making a voyage to "the new fund land" (Newfoundland) in the 16th century.
They also detail the skipper's debts and name the crew.
The nature of the cargo it carried on its outward voyage is unclear.
However, it is known to have returned to Aberdeen from North America via the Portuguese port of Aveiro, where it picked up a cargo of salt.
Mr Brochard said: "I was trawling through the records when my eyes chanced upon the words 'new fund land'.
"This turned out to be an astonishing discovery. I'm sure other gems like this are waiting to be discovered."
City archivist Phil Astley said: "Quirky and unusual stories quite often come to light when reading through original records - it's part of the fun of working in an archive.
"However, it's rare to have a find as historically significant as that made by Thomas.
"It's even more remarkable that we know the names of several crew members."