Saturday, November 5, 2011

Galleon (Sp. Galeón)

Representation of a small galleon

From: Manuel de pilotage, à l'usage des pilotes bretons, par G. Brouscon (1548)
Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Français 25374

The galleon was a merchant vessel designed to combat corsairs on terms of equality. Some were quite large. The one depicted above appears to be relatively small, a type the Spanish called the galeóncillo. The description in Bancroft’s Hist. Central Amer., 1:189n, applies to the larger types:

“The galeon was a large armed merchant vessel with high bulwarks, three or four decks, with two or three masts, square-rigged, spreading courses and top-sails. One fleet of twelve galleons, from 1000 to 1200 tons burden, was named after the twelve apostles. Those which plied between Acapulco and Manila were from 1200 to 2000 tons burden.”

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