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Santa Maria (15th century)

Santa Maria (15th century)

Christopher Columbus' three-masted carrack, the Santa Maria was the flagship of his first, landmark voyage.

Technology

Keywords

Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus, America, flagship, lead ship, Niña, Pinta, carrack, indigenous people, New World, The Bahamas, Hispaniola, Lisbon, watercraft, shipping, deck, caravel, running aground, technology, history

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Questions

  • Is the following statement true?\nThe Italian word "colombo" means pigeon.
  • Which country did Christopher Columbus want to reach by ship (sailing toward West)?
  • Is the following statement true?\nIn April 1492 John II of Portugal authorized the Indian expedition.
  • Is the following statement true?\nIn April 1492 the Spanish royal couple authorized the Indian expedition.
  • How many ships did Christopher Columbus have on his first "Indian" voyage?
  • Is the following statement true?\nChristopher Columbus soon realized that he had discovered a new continent.
  • Is the following statement true?\nChristopher Columbus lived the rest of his life in Spain in great honor.

Scenes

Columbus's flagship

On his first voyage (1492–1493) Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean (toward America) with three ships, two smaller caravels (Nina and Pinta), and the flagship, Santa Maria, a carrack (Columbus used the term "nao"). The original name of Santa Maria ("Holy Mary") was La Gallega ("The Galician"), probably because the wood (oak and pine) used for the construction of the ship came from the Galician forests. Her owner (and captain at the same time) was Juan de la Cosa.
The three-masted carrack was approximately 25 meters (82 feet) long and 8 meters (26.2 feet) wide; her carrying capacity was between 180 and 240 tons. The ship did not return to Europe, she ran aground near Haiti and was damaged beyond repair.
Columbus's voyages were supported by the Spanish royal couple, and he traveled in representation of the Christian world, as shown by the ensigns and symbols on the ship.

Christopher Columbus

Shape and structure of the carrack

The carrack was a Portuguese sailing ship used for both military and commercial purposes in the 15th–16th centuries.
It was a popular ship type, it quickly spread all around Europe. This ship type (called "nao" in the 15th century) was constructed with two (or more) decks. The hull was not slim (generally 25–30 meters or 82–98.4 feet long and 8–10 meters or 26.2–32.8 feet wide); the bulging hull was narrowing upward and downward.
Carracks had a clipper-type bow and a transom stern. In the bow, there was a smaller, triangular superstructure, while in the stern a high superstructure could be found with more decks.
This type used to be constructed with two masts, then later with three. The mainmast in the middle of the hull and the foremast found in the bow were square-rigged, while the small mast in the stern was Latin-rigged. The topsail at the top of the mainmast (above the basket) and the bonnet below the foremast also appeared in the carrack.

  • Palos, August 9, 1492 Departure from Spain (Niña, Pinta, Santa Maria)
  • Bahamas October 11–12, 1492 Arrival in America
  • Hispaniola, December 24–25, 1492 The Santa Maria wrecked
  • Lisbon, March 4, 1493 Return to Portugal (Niña) Palos (Spain), March 15, 1493

Narration

The sailing ship Santa Maria was the flagship during Christopher Columbus's first voyage. La Gallega, that is, "The Galician," was the original name of the ship that rose to fame through the landmark journey of 1492. The name probably originates in Galicia, Northern Spain, where the ship was built. The owner of the ship was Juan de la Cosa. It was a three-masted carrack, approximately 25 meters (82 feet) long and 8 meters (26.2 feet) wide; with a cargo capacity of 180-240 tons. The squarish, capacious carrack is a Portuguese ship type that was used for both merchant and military purposes.

The deck consisted of several levels. During Columbus's voyage, the crew numbered 26 (including the discoverer of the New World and the owner).

Unfortunately, the Santa Maria, sailing under the Spanish flag, did not survive the world-famous journey. The ship ran aground near Haiti on Christmas Day in 1492.
Out of the fleet of three ships on the first voyage, Columbus then appointed one of the caravels, the Niña, as flagship, and returned to Spain aboard her the following year.

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