Brigantine / Brig

Rafael Monleón y Torres, National Library of Spain

The brigantine is a vessel with two square-rigged masts—the mainmast and the foremast—and a bowsprit. If a large gaff-rigged sail was hoisted in the mainmast, it was called a brigantine. If it was rigged with square sails, it was called a brig. This type of vessel was used for coastal surveillance, transport, the delivery of mail, to warn other ships and to carry out combat operations.

It was characterized by a good balance between its destructive power and its great speed, good maneuver agility and suitability for transport. It had room for a hundred men and could carry up to 24 pieces of artillery. It could also carry up to 150 tons and sail in many different conditions.

Since the 17th century, the brigantine was used for surveillance and the transport of messages and mail. It had two masts with square sails and a gaff-sail on the mainmast. It could be armed with up to 24 guns on deck. Because of its speed and destructive power, it was widely used by pirates and privateers, but also by navies to fight piracy.

Image: Rafael Monleón y Torres, National Library of Spain

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