Elizabethan Era 1558 - 1603

Tudors Times 1485 - 1603

Jacobean Era 1603 - 1625

Santa Maria Ship of Christopher Columbus



It is a known fact that Christopher Columbus had three ships when he had set out on his very first expedition in the year 1492. Santa Maria was one of the three ships. There is no exact information available on the ships so, the description is based on the ships that were commonly seen during that century.


Santa Maria was a nao or 'ship' as it was known in the old Spanish language. This ship was the biggest of the three ships taken by Columbus for his expedition. Santa Maria weighted around 200-600 tons and was basically built in such a manner that large quantities of cargos can be loaded on board but the ship being so heavy was slow as compared to the other vessels. The ship could not however go near the coastlines.


Santa Maria was a ship that belonged to Juan de la Cosa and was nicknamed as La Gallega as Juan was from Galicia. Christopher borrowed this ship from Juan and renamed it Santa Maria. Santa Maria was Columbus's flagship.


Santa Maria had three masts and each had one large sail. Of these sails, the foresail and the mainsail were square and the mizzen or the rear mast was triangular known as lateen. The ship also had a small square sail on the bowsprit and a small topsail on the mainmast. This ship was also known to have had a crow's nest on the mainmast which had a raised stern.


The ship derived its power from the largest mainsail and the other sails were used for the purposes of 'trimming'. Despite its large capacity to store cargo and also a large number of men, Columbus was not happy with the ship. According to Christopher, Santa Maria was unfit for such a discovery voyage as the deep draft of the ship prohibited her to sail in areas near reefs and shallow island waters. The ship had to be abandoned once it ran aground off Hispaniola.

   
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