In transoceanic quests, naval technology and the evolution of the methods used in the construction of the ships that were sent on such maritime voyages played a fundamental role.
In this section you will find a description of the ships that made navigation possible.
A brigantine is a vessel with two masts: the mainmast and the foremast. It was used for coastal surveillance, transport, the delivery of mail, to warn other ships and to carry out combat operations.
The caravel was a small sailing ship without neither a forecastle nor an aftercastle, rigged with lateen sails. It had elegant shapes, a shallow draft and low cargo capacity, but great maneuverability.
This European ship had either three or four masts rigged with square sails. It was a slow-sailing cargo ship with very rounded shapes. It was used as a merchant vessel between the 15th and 16th centuries.
The frigate was a three-masted war vessel with a single, continuous gun deck. Frigates were lighter than ships of the line, with great maneuverability.
Large sailing ship with three masts, galleons were powerful and very slow warships which could be equally used for trade or war.
Schooners were sailing vessels with two or three masts that are fore-and-aft rigged with gaff-rigged sails. They were popular between the 19th and early 20th century.
Merchant ships or merchantmen were vessels used for trade, often galleons or ships of the line. Their purpose determined their category.
Large vessel with a round stern, a forecastle and an aftercastle. It was used as a ship of exploration and for transport in the Age of Discovery, between the 15th and 16th centuries.
The ship of the line evolved from the galleon, whose strength and defensive power grew during the transition from the 17th to the 18th century.
Pataches were two-masted vessels mainly used as a tender to carry messages, to scout coastlines, to protect port entrances and to accompany the Capitanas (flagships) and Almirantas (rear guard ships).
A cargo ship of Dutch origin with two masts, a wide beam and great capacity for cargo and the transport of goods and troops. Urcas were used until the beginning of the 18th century.
The chalupas, shallops, Xebecs, launches or boats were small vessels with or without sails that were used for short journeys, in sight of land, or as a ship’s boat carried by larger vessels.