During the global transoceanic expansion of European ships and cultures in the early modern period, shipwreck was a constant threat and a common experience. Scholarship on literary and historical depictions of shipwrecks demonstrates how these disasters shaped and were shaped by changing intellectual currents from theology to imperialism, racialized thinking, changing gender ideas, and new vistas in global geography. Shipwreck encompasses mythic narratives inherited from Homer and Virgil as well as contemporary mishaps suffered by European sailors voyaging from Bermuda to Madagascar. Two phrases in current critical discourse illuminate the meanings of shipwreck in early modern studies. The phrase “wet globalization” describes the process through which early modern sailing ships reintegrated the human, animal, viral, and other ecologies of the long-sundered continents. The “blue humanities” bring together new currents in scholarship in multiple fields that explores the changing nature of the human relationship with the oceans. Shipwreck studies in the early modern period provide violent images of the consequences of wet globalization. These disasters become legible through the analytical modes pioneered by the blue humanities.