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Portuguese Caravel (of Bartolomew Diaz/Bartolomeu Dias)



Caravela latina

 We point out in this list, where there say ships of a considerable transport, a caravel, that for the importance of his act, it has all the legitimacy to be in this list.

An expedition commanded by Bartolomeu Dias, left from Lisbon in August of 1487. In December it reached the coast of the current Namíbia, the point more to south registed for the expedition of Diogo Cão. Continuing for south, it discovered first the Angra dos Ilhéus, being robbed, next, by a violent storm.

 Thirteen days later, it looked for the coast, finding only the sea. Using the arrived winds of the Antarctic that blow vigorously in the South Atlantic, it sailed for northeast, when re-discovering the coast, which there already had the direction east-western and northern (already for east of the Cape of the Storms, that D. John II was re-nominated for End of the Good Hope. This was one of the most important events of the history of the navegation.

 The caravel is a type of ship used by the navigators Portugueses from ends of the séc. XV up to middles of the séc. XVII. It resulted from the adaptation of the Latin caravel to the great ocean courses, where the winds were regular of the sectors of the stern, when a considerable increase of speed is providing the round sail.

There are not plans of ships of the time. The Caravels of 2 masts as Bartolomeu Diast caravel are called of Caravelões, would have approximately 20 meters of length, 6 of mouth and 40/50 casks of capacity.






















Nau São Gabriel



Nau São Gabriel


 One of the most celebrated Ships is the S. Gabriel for the exploit of the discovery of the sea way for India. Of all the ships of the First travel to India, the S. Gabriel was undoubtedly the most important , not only was the almirant ship where the very experienced master was travelling but also for his characteristics. It was equipping with three masts (big, foresail, mizen), six sails and a lance to the prow serving of bowsprit. In two masts of foreship it was using two sails in each, of round sail, and in the mast the criminal, a candle from Latin sail. Destined coordinating the factors speed and possibility of bowlines associated to the already relative knowledge of the winds and currents in the furrowed seas, this conjugation of types of sail was inducing to the establishment of routes that they were allowing from soon using the winds. It had still a towering appearance and a very irregular form with the prow and stern decorated with drawings. Relatively to Christ's Cross, this one will not have been used in these ships. It was afraid that the ostentation of a Christian symbol was interpreted like a provocation, giving rise to hostile reactions that could for in risk the success of the expedition.

The ships were equipped and prepared to go out with great quantity of provisions and surpluses, like candles, anchors and ammunitions. Privileges and pays were still never granted before derived, which reveals the importance of which the travel was covered.

Characteristics: (s Gabriel)
100 to 120 casks
Length: around 20 meters
Artillery: 20 pieces
Garrison: aprox. 50 men











Nau Flor de la Mar



Nau Flor de la Mar

The Flor de la Mar, ship of 400 tons, built in Lisbon in 1502. In this year and under the command of Estêvão da Gama (brother of Vasco da Gama), it furrows the seas towards India. The second travel happens in 1505 and, while doubling the Cape of the Good Hope it suffered a hole in the hoof and, noticed Mozambique. It participates in the conquest of Ormuz, in 1507, in the battle of Diu, in 1509 and in the conquest of Goa in 1510 and in 1511 in the conquest of Malaca. Afonso of Albuquerque used it to carry forward of Malaca, the estate taken in the conquest of the inserted rich commercial and the most significant of the whole Asia.

The ship did not win the storm that hovered in the strait of Malaca, in the night of 20 of November of 1512.

The " sleeping beauty " was buried, on basis of the sea with: gold, precious stones, works of art, exotic goods, adornments what after the death of the great captain, of India, it would want what these were serving of vanity and funeral decoration of his mausoleum.

AFlor de la Mar and the supposed location, it served in the years from 1989 to 1992, discussed subject and publicited in the press, writing, of the Asian South-east and gave motive to controversies where one affirms, without basis, that Malaysia disputes with Indonesia the salvages in the entrails of the waters of the strait. Meantime, Robert Marx, of American nationality and one hunter of the recuperation of treasures, which second was aware dispend 20 million dollars in the project of bringing to the surface of the water the riches of the ship.



He affirmed to have green light to begin the operations of rescue of the estate and, according to his declarations: " the richest boat disappeared sometime in the sea; with the certainty that on board 200 safes from precious stones had been loaded; small diamonds with to dimensions of half an inch and with the size of a fist the biggest ".

















Nau Santa Catarina do Monte Sinai




In the beginning of the Century XVI, two ships are distinguished like two bigger Ships (Carracas for the English) navies of the world, One of them is « Henry Grace a Dieu » of England, and other the Ship « Saint Catarina of the Monte Sinai » .A distinguishes between two ships, the fact is that the English ship had cannons of bigger calibre and less reach, while the Portuguese ship was armed by a great number of cannons (superior to 100) but of less calibre and bigger reach (what it would be more advantageous in combat).

Saint Catarina was captured by the Company of Dutch India during February of 1603 near to Singapura. It was a prize of such a big way that for subsequent sale collected the double of the capital of the Company itself of India. This period marked the end of the Portuguese monopoly of the Indians. The Dutchmen who had discovered the routes in 1596 thanks to Jan Huyghens van Linschoten, were trying to seize some of the wealth for them.

In the dawn of 25 of February of 1603, 3 Dutch ships under the command of Admiral Jakob Van Heemskerk they caught sight of the ship anchored in the eastern coast of Singapura. After some hours of combat, the Dutchmen dominated it crew who abdicated so of the goods and of the ship, in exchange for the lives themselves. The commodity was particularly valuable since kilogram of musk was containing much. It was also replete of arrived commodity of China and of Japan and was sailing of Macao for Malaca.


The ship was officially confiscated in Amesterdão to 4 of September of 1604



Nau Santa Catarina Monte Sinai

















Nau Madre de Deus


Nau Madre de Deus - réplica



Built in Lisbon in 1589, it was returning of his second travel to India. With 50 meters of length and 14,5 meters of width, it was weighing 1600 tons (of which 900 were goods) had 3 times the size of the biggest English ship. It had 7 decks, 32 cannons between other arms, a crew was employing from 600 to 700 men, superstructure in carving gilded with a massive and made beautiful structure and an enormous replete compartment of treasures of India.  The ship “ Madre de Deus ” of enormous dimensions for the time, was privileging, the couple of the navigability, a considerable space of load that was making the run of India profitable, for which ships of his type quickly became tempting prisoners for corsairs and pirates who then began to patrol this route.

Capacity – 1600 t
Length – 50 m
Mouth – 14,37 m
Line of loaded water – 9,39 m
Height of the big mast – 36,6 m
Length of the big stick – 32 m
Pieces of artillery in bronze – 32
People on board – 600 to 700 persons


In 1592 (when Portugal is without king, and under Spanish regency), violating the Portuguese-English Treaty of 1373, at full war between Spain and England, a naval English fleet composed by 6 ships was waiting far off from the Azores to intercept merchant ships of Spain that were coming from Americas with different goods, when a Portuguese arrived fleet of the south if it brought near. The Englishmen forced the ship Holy Cross to land when it is stealing all the goods what the Portugueses had not managed to save. Under threat of torture they managed to obtain also information of which there were more ships on the way, come from India. One of these ships was the Madre de Deus, who was addressing for loaded Lisbon of goods. Perceptibly to way of the August of this year, the English corsairs led by the Commander Sir John Burrough, took the ship after a long day of battle near to the island of the Flowers, in which several Portuguese sailors lost the life. When the Englishmen boarded, the decks were full of blood and the bodies of the sailors were spread a little by the whole ship, but more concentrated near to the rudder. Burrough saved the life of the Captain Fernão de Mendonça Furtado and of the injured remainder, sending them for the coast.

Between the riches there were trunks full of precious jewels and pearls, coins from gold and silver, amber, rolls of cloth of the highest quality, tapestry, 425 tons of pepper, 45 tons of carnation of India, 35 tons of cinnamon, 25 tons of cochineal insect, 15 tons of ebony, 3 tons of nutmeg and 2,5 tons of favourite son (an aromatic resin used in perfumes and medicines). There was still incense, silks, apricot, cloth from gold, Chinese porcelain, prisoners of elephant between other articles. Finally and perhaps the biggest treasure what the Englishmen acquired: a document printed in Macao in 1590, which was containing precious information on the Portuguese commerce in China and in Japan. Richard Hakluyt reported that this document was considered closed in a box of cedar, rolled up 100 times for a fine cloth of Calecute, when the most precious of the jewels was treated how.

In England


Nau Madre de Deus - réplica


The English crew had filled the pockets with what it could, before the Commander Burrough could control the commodity. The ship moored in the port of Dartmouth in the day 7 of September, higher than all the other ships and all the houses in the neighborhood of the port. Such a thing had never been seen in England and the pandemonium was produced. The Madre de Deus attracted for the port the whole sort of traders, thieves and snoopers of kilometers of distance. The persons were visiting the floating castle and were looking for drunk sailors in the shops and surrounding bars, of whom they could take away the stolen treasures.

The English law in the height was dictating that a percentage of the share was always going for the crown and when queen Elisabete I was informed of the event it sent Sir Walter Raleigh to demand his share and to punish the plunderers.
The respected value of the load was equal to half of the English treasure in the height. When Raleigh restored the order it was already left in the ship around a quarter of the goods initially brought by Burrough. The Madre de Deus was one of the biggest withdrawals of the History.

This blow of riches of the Indians galvanized the English interest in the region. The Englishmen to leave from here started to dress the officials who were doing the unloadings of the goods of the ships with uniforms without pockets.













Galeão São Martinho


Galeão S. Martinho


Interestingly, the most famous of Portuguese galleons drew up São Martinho, and because of being the most powerful ships
Portuguese, was transformed into the flagship station and is
referred to as the Spanish historiography; Galeon San Martin, with its Portuguese origin in the vast majority of cases have simply omitted, and in many cases presented as ship Oriental, built in the Mediterranean coast. It is also said by some historians as ship Castilian Spanish.

Indeed, as the historical documents show, the ships continued to be Portuguese galleons of the Crown of Portugal and just the fact that his name has been translated from Portuguese into Spanish has to be referred as San Martin.
Of the remaining Portuguese galleons that participated in the battle, some were already built in Portugal after 1580, but remained for all purposes (such as St. Martin) to be part of the Crown of Portugal and to be built exactly the same rules and plans construction typically Portuguese.





Though faster and manoeuvrable that Hispanic galleons, the galleons Portuguese have proved difficult to maneuver during battle.
Between 1580 and 1588. The problem has been the observation that ships in open sea in the North Atlantic, let in too much water allegedly because the forecastle was too low.






Interpretando mal o problema, e partindo do principio de que os navios seriam utilizados para abordagens (táctica de guerra naval a que os comandantes hispânicos continuavam tenazmente agarrados), o comandante da esquadra, Alvaro de Bazan, mandou que lhes fosse aumentado o «beque» ou esporão de abordagem e também o castelo de proa (à moda dos galeões hispânicos).Por esta razão, quer o São Martinho, quer outros galeões da Coroa de Portugal acabaram (por inspiração do comandante castelhano) por se transformar em navios lentos e tremendamente difíceis de manobrar, pois a sua estrutura não estava concebida para aguentar uma proa pesada.


Misinterpreted the problem, and assuming that the vessels would be used for approaches (tactics of naval warfare that commanders still tenaciously clinging Hispanics), the commander of the squadron, Alvaro de Bazan, said they were increasing the 'beak' or spur of approach and the forecastle (the fashion of the Spanish galleons).

For this reason, both the St. Martin, or other galleons of the Crown of Portugal ended (inspired by Spanish master) by turning on ships and terribly slow difficult to operate because its structure was not designed to handle a heavy bow. However, despite the disastrous changes made by the Spaniards, the overall quality of the construction of shipyards Portuguese was such that even terribly damaged, and having to have many holes below the waterline repaired in combat, the British failed to sink the ship .













Galeão São João Batista - Botafogo







In the sixteenth century, 1534, Portugal has the largest ship of war in Europe. The Galeao S. John the Baptist, of 366 pieces of bronze, 5 batteries and 1,000 tonnes, which, by their power of artillery and achievements, was known as Botafogo.

The legend of his life was long and spur its highest expression with the galleon, central figure in the tapestry representing the campaign of conquest of Tunis, in 1535. In illustrating the making of Goleta shows him leading the attack, which the eighteenth detailed description saying it was the spur that the Botafogo broke the chains and opened way for other vessels. This report was to know that 366 was armed with a fire hydrant (which accept multiple authors). The fame of the galleon  made that the many important Portuguese took the letter and coat of arms with the title Botafogo.



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