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Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada; the Apothecaries painting, sometimes attributed to Nicholas Hilliard. (Public Domain)

Galleons, Stallions Of The Seas

The 17th-century was of fundamental importance for everything related to naval design in the centuries to follow. In the 1600s a vessel called a galleon, took center stage in international maritime traffic; however, this type of ship already existed since the 15th century, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. Together with the Dutch Fluit, the galleon, is considered the progenitor of the modern merchant ship, since it was large, spacious and able to withstand tempestuous oceanic conditions, however it needed to sail downwind (from the stern sectors) for optimal use of the vessel.

A large carrack, attributed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1558) (Public Domain)

Origins Of The Galleon

The origin of the name ‘Galleon’ stems from the Venetian word Gallione and this type of ship was already widespread in most of Europe (with variations from country to country) until about 1650. This great ship provided a bridge to past construction techniques, precisely because of the "beak" in the front, in the bow section, under the bowsprit. This beak is a kind of rostrum, which the Dutch used to call "Galjoen".


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