The square-rigged caravel, (Portuguese : caravela redonda) was a sailing ship created by the Portuguese in the second half of the fifteenth century. A much larger version of the caravel, its use was most notorious beginning in the end of that century. The square-rigged caravel held a notable role in the Portuguese expansion during the age of discovery, especially in the first half of the sixteenth century, for its exceptional maneuverability and combat capabilities. This ship was also sometimes adopted by other European powers. The hull was galleon-shaped, and some experts consider this vessel a forerunner of the fighting galleon, by the name of caravela de armada.
The Portuguese square-rigged caravel or round caravel appeared more frequently in the end of the fifteenth century and especially in the beginning of the sixteenth century. Traditionally considered a particular type of the caravel, but also a new and different type of ship due to its significant structural differences, was the result of an evolution in design of the caravel (lateen caravel) and a structural combination between the carrack and the same caravel, but distinct, however, from both. Christopher Columbus, on his voyages to the New World in the service of Castile, used ships also called caravelas redondas (round caravels) by the combination of sails (Possibly in based lateen caravels and other traditional ships models), they were however different from the Portuguese models, which differed by the number and arrangement of the sails and by the hull shape, among other features. There were regulations for the construction of caravels of 150 to 180 tons, 110 to 150 tons, and from 100 to 125 tons. Square-rigged caravels and lateen caravels were different types of ships, being only the generic name caravel the greatest link between both.
The square-rigged caravel possessed aftercastle and forecastle, unlike the lateen caravel, which could not have any structure erected on the bow of the ship, because of the maneuver of the foremast. From this point of view, the square-rigged caravel was closer to the naus and galleons than to its lateen caravel counterpart. She also had a beak apparently quite innovative (for its time) or of "modern" style, projecting forward from the bow below the level of the forecastle, somewhat similar to that commonly used later in galleons of the second half of the 16th century. She had taper and narrow hull lines, checking that the relationship between length and width was between 3:1 and 4:1 (some rare, possibly longer), walking roughly in the middle. This relationship goes close to the patache, ship of some similar characteristics, and was slightly higher than the 3:1 ratio stipulated by the regulations for ships of 150 tons.
If the Portuguese galleon, largely designed for better navigation and for naval defense, would be of more mixed use, warfare and transportation, as would also be the Spanish galleon (among other European ships of this "class" or similar style), the square-rigged caravel or caravela de armada, though partly bifunctional, was essentially dedicated to naval warfare and for the defense of armadas.
The use of these square-rigged caravels for exploration reconnaissance and combat (if necessary), following a larger number of naus in each fleet, were instrumental in the exploration of North America, South America the East, and particularly in the Portuguese India Armadas - including the discovery of Brazil - from the expedition of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 and continuing in the fleets that followed. They were also important, along with naus, in decisive historic battles, as Diu.
The square-rigged caravels had optimal use in coast guard armadas, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Atlantic Islands, North Africa, Mediterranean, Brazil and Indian Ocean. When D. Manuel I decided to send ships to the Azores in order to protect the ships from India, or when he created the Armada do Estreito ("Strait Armada"), he did so with square-rigged caravels armed for naval military action, also some naus, and later on, galleons (in the North Atlantic); and in the Strait of Gibraltar, joining them to the fustas and galleys. Despite the round caravel has been partially replaced by the galleon, its great qualities allowed its use until the end of the seventeenth century. The Portuguese Man o' War was named after this curious type of fighting ship.
Having been a combination of the carrack and the caravel, the square-rigged caravel was distinguished clearly from both ships by its combined sails (absent in the caravel), with four or more masts, usually three with lateen rigged sails and the fore-mast with two square sails, and by its hull design which was narrower and longer. The square-rigged caravel was proportionally narrower in width and longer than the caravel, distinguished also by the sterncastle, more elongated and usually more projected backwards, and more complex, in two floors or two-deck castle-like, on diagonal gradation in length. It was also distinguished from the caravel by the existence of a lower forecastle and by having a snout or head - a long beak, projecting forward from the bow below the level of the forecastle (both absent in the lateen caravel).
The configuration of the square-rigged caravel obeyed to round ships, generally having a more narrow and elongated hull than the vessels of bigger size, more lower lines, aftercastle and forecastle, with two or one floors, and two covers. The ship had four masts, one with two square-rigged sails (the foremast) and lateen sails on the other ones; perfectly adequate morphology tonnage according to the general evolution of sailing vessels since the fifteenth century, which saw firstly a large increase in its superstructures, and came gradually to decrease in volume.
The "caravela de armada" was, fundamentally, a well-armed square-rigged caravel, created out of the need to carry more cargo and heavier artillery, so as to fulfill military duties such as convoy escort or coastal patrol and integrate the Portuguese Armadas, particularly in the sixteenth century. In order to keep the center of gravity low, so as not to compromise the stability, the draught of the ship was increased, thus enabling the existence of several decks.
The Portuguese galleon probably arose during the first quarter of the sixteenth century, contributing to the hegemony of Portugal in the East. It was a havily armed and robust, with less cargo capacity than the carracks used to transport goods, but proved especially suitable to escort fleets and convoys, namely in the India run. This ship was a forerunner and a pioneer in its kind, including in the number and arrangement of its sails, and in its shape as a whole.
In structural terms the galleon may constitute an evolution (in part) of the square-rigged caravel, although wider and heavier. The galleon had a lower and discrete forecastle and a narrower and taper hull than the nau, as the square-rigged caravel, which is substantiated by the higher relation between the length and the bow. Both characteristics, allied to a powerful weaponry and more hydrodynamic lines, made the galleon, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Portuguese warship par excellence. Moreover, its hull had a higher density of beacons and stringers, which made the structure more solid and, above all, more resistant to naval artillery.
Initially, the Portuguese galleon had long beaks and spurs, and operated with three masts, the foremast and the main-mast with two square-rigged sails each, and a lateen rigged sail in the mizzen-mast. Result of the natural evolution of new requirements raised by war, soon they were built with four masts; the larger vessels had this configuration, always with lateen rigged sails in the two mizzen-masts in almost all galleons, and a third square smaller sail at the tops of the fore-mast and the main-mast (the latter in larger ships), which can be seen in the galleon São João Baptista, the Botafogo, and on the galleons illustrated in the Roteiro do Mar Roxo of D. João de Castro. The galleon was so, also, a combination of the carrack and the square-rigged caravel in its sails.
Another detail which differs in the galleon is the presence of a beak of appreciable size, extending forward horizontally at the wheel of the bow. This feature, which could already be detected on the square-rigged caravel, appears to be evidence of greater effort required of the bowsprit, which will not be unaware of the fact that both the height of the mast as the sail surface had grown over time.
On the other hand, the more lower and narrower lines, the tapered and pointy shape of the hull, and the beak-shaped prow, allow the navigators to achieve greater speed, while the lower height of the forecastle gave her manoeuver qualities, including greater ability to navigate at a more bushy bowline, with advantage to maneuver on confined spaces. The great firepower of these ships tended to unbalance in their favor the outcome of battles fought at sea, having been used in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
A sailing ship is a sea-going vessel that uses sails mounted on masts to harness the power of wind and propel the vessel. There is a variety of sail plans that propel sailing ships, employing square-rigged or fore-and-aft sails. Some ships carry square sails on each mast—the brig and full-rigged ship, said to be "ship-rigged" when there are three or more masts. Others carry only fore-and-aft sails on each mast—schooners. Still others employ a combination of square and fore-and aft sails, including the barque, barquentine, and brigantine. Sailing ships developed differently in Asia, which produced the junk and dhow—vessels that incorporated innovations absent in European ships of the time. Technically in the Age of Sail a ship was a specific type of vessel, with a bowsprit and three masts, each of which consists of a lower, top, and topgallant mast.
A sail plan is a set of drawings, usually prepared by a naval architect which shows the various combinations of sail proposed for a sailing ship. Alternatively, as a term of art, it refers to the way such vessels are rigged as discussed below.
A xebec, also spelled zebec, was a Mediterranean sailing ship that was used mostly for trading. Xebecs had a long overhanging bowsprit and aft-set mizzen mast. The term can also refer to a small, fast vessel of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, used almost exclusively in the Mediterranean Sea.
Galleons were large, multi-decked sailing ships first used as armed cargo carriers by European states from the 16th to 18th centuries during the age of sail and were the principal fleet units drafted for use as warships until the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the mid-1600s. Galleons generally carried three or more masts with a lateen fore-and-aft rig on the rear masts, were carvel built with a prominent squared off raised stern, and used square-rigged sail plans on their fore-mast and main-masts.
The caravel was a small, highly manoeuvrable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave it speed and the capacity for sailing windward (beating). Caravels were used by the Portuguese and Castilians for the oceanic exploration voyages during the 15th and 16th centuries in the Age of Discovery.
A lateen or latin-rig is a triangular sail set on a long yard mounted at an angle on the mast, and running in a fore-and-aft direction.
A carrack was a three- or four-masted ocean-going sailing ship that was developed in the 14th to 15th centuries in Europe. Evolved from the single-masted cog, the carrack was first used for European trade from the Mediterranean to the Baltic and quickly found use with the newly found wealth of the trans-Atlantic trade between Europe, Africa and then the Americas. In their most advanced forms, they were used by the Portuguese for trade between Europe and Asia starting in the late 15th century, before eventually being superseded in the 17th century by the galleon, introduced in the 16th century.
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall spar, or arrangement of spars, erected more or less vertically on the centre-line of a ship or boat. Its purposes include carrying sails, spars, and derricks, and giving necessary height to a navigation light, look-out position, signal yard, control position, radio aerial or signal lamp. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship. Nearly all sailing masts are guyed.
A full-rigged ship or fully rigged ship is a sailing vessel's sail plan with three or more masts, all of them square-rigged. A full-rigged ship is said to have a ship rig or be ship-rigged.
La Niña was one of the three Spanish ships used by Genoan explorer Christopher Columbus in his first voyage to the West Indies in 1492. As was tradition for Spanish ships of the day, she bore a female saint's name, Santa Clara. However, she was commonly referred to by her nickname, La Niña, which was probably a pun on the name of her owner, Juan Niño of Moguer. She was a standard caravel-type vessel.
A foresail is one of a few different types of sail set on the foremost mast (foremast) of a sailing vessel:
The ships of Medieval Europe were powered by sail or oar, or both. There was a large variety, mostly based on much older conservative designs. Although wider and more frequent communications within Europe meant exposure to a variety of improvements, experimental failures were costly and rarely attempted. Ships in the north were influenced by Viking vessels, while those in the south by classical or Roman vessels. However, there was technological change. The different traditions used different construction methods; clinker in the north, carvel in the south. By the end of the period, carvel construction would come to dominate the building of large ships. The period would also see a shift from the steering oar or side rudder to the stern rudder and the development from single to multi-masted ships. As the area is connected by water, it would make sense that people in the Mediterranean would build different kinds of ships to accommodate different sea levels and climate. Within the Mediterranean area during the Medieval times ships were used for a multitude of reasons, like war, trade, and exploration.
San Salvador was the flagship of explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. She was a 100-foot (30 m) full-rigged galleon with 10-foot (3.0 m) draft and capacity of 200 tons. She carried officers, crew, and a priest.
São Martinho or San Martín, built as a Portuguese Navy galleon, became the flagship of Duke of Medina Sedonia, commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armada.
The Portuguese India Armadas were the fleets of ships, organized by the crown of the Kingdom of Portugal and dispatched on an annual basis from Portugal to India, principally Goa. These armadas undertook the Carreira da Índia, following the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope first opened up by Vasco da Gama in 1497–1499.
Iberian kingdoms made major contributions to maritime innovation in the Age of Discovery. The exploration and colonization of the world by Spain and Portugal was made possible by the ships that the Iberians developed and sailed.
The Portuguese inventions are the inventions created by the people born in Portugal or whose nationality is Portuguese. These inventions were created mainly during the age of Portuguese Discoveries, but as well, during modernity.
The Naval Battle of Aceh was fought in 1569 off the coast of Sumatra between a lone Portuguese carrack and an armada of the Sultanate of Aceh, that was about to stage an attack on Portuguese Malacca. It ended in Portuguese victory and the withdrawal of the Aceh fleet after suffering heavy losses.