Santa María (ship)

The "Santa María" was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa.

The "Santa María" was a small carrack, or "nao", about 70 feet long [Another editor gives her length as about 82 feet.] Fact|date=September 2008, used as the flagship for the expedition. She carried 40 men. The 'Santa María" was constructed from pine and oak which was from the Białowieża Forest.

The other ships of the Columbus expedition were the caravel-type ships "Santa Clara", remembered as the "Niña" ("The Girl" – a pun on the name of her owner, Juan Niño) and "Pinta" ("The Painted" – this might be a reference to excessive makeup). All these ships were second-hand (if not third or more) and were never meant for exploration.

The "Santa María" was originally named "La Gallega" ("The Galician"), probably because she was built in Galicia. It seems the ship was known to her sailors as "Marigalante", Spanish for "Gallant Mary". Bartolomé de Las Casas never used "La Gallega", "Marigalante" or "Santa María" in his writings, preferring to use "la Capitana" or "La Nao".

The "Santa María" had a single deck and three masts. She was the slowest of Columbus' vessels but performed well in the Atlantic crossing. She ran aground off the present-day site of Môle Saint-Nicolas, Haiti on December 25, 1492, and was lost. [cite web| author=Maclean, Frances| title=The Lost Fort of Columbus| url=| work=Smithsonian Magazine| date=January 2008| accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=January 24] Timbers from the ship were later used to build Môle Saint-Nicolas, which was originally called "La Navidad" (Christmas) because the wreck occurred on Christmas Day.

Columbus's Crew on the First Voyage

Columbus's crew on the first voyage was not composed of criminals as iswidely believed. Many of them were experienced seamen from the port town of Palos and the surrounding countryside and coastal area of Galicia.

There were some crew members from Andalusia, as the voyage was financed by a syndicate of seven noble Genovese bankers resident in Seville (the group was linked to Américo Vespucci and funds belonging to Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de Medici ). Hence all the accounting and recording of the voyage was kept in Seville. This also applies for the Second voyage even though the syndicate had by then disbanded. This fact partially demyths the romantic story that the Queen of Spain is alleged to have used a necklace she had received from her husband the King, as collateral for a loan.

It is a fact that the Spanish Sovereigns offered amnesty to convicts who would sign up for the voyage, but only four men took up the offer: one who had killed a man in a fight, and three of his friends who then helped him escape from jail.

Of the four voyages of Columbus, only the crew of the first voyage is completely known. In many cases there are no surnames, what is indicated is their place of origin so as to differentiate crew members with the same first names.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Santa Maria

*Christopher Columbus ::: captain-general
*Juan de La Cosa ::: of Santona, master, and owner of the vessel:::
*Sancho Ruiz ::: pilot
*Maestre Alonso ::: of Moguer, physician
*Maestre Diego ::: boatswain (contramaestre)
*Rodrigo Sanchez ::: of Segovia, inspector (veedor)
*Terreros::: steward (maestresala)
*Rodrigo de Jerez::: of Ayamonte
*Ruiz Garcia ::: of Santona
*Rodrigo de Escobar :::
*Francisco de Huelva ::: of Huelva
*Rui Fernandez ::: of Huelva
*Pedro de Bilbao ::: of Larrabezua
*Pedro de Villa ::: of Santona
*Diego de Salcedo ::: servant of Columbus
*Pedro de Acevedo ::: cabin boy
*Luis de Torres ::: converted Jew, interperter
*Juan Meadows ::: "Recorded as the one who saw land"


No authentic contemporary likeness of any of the three ships of the Columbus expedition is known to exist. Several replicas of the "Santa Maria" have been built, all based solely on conjecture.

Interest in reconstructing the Taylor "Santa María" started in the 1890s for the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage. The 1892 reconstruction depicted the ship as a nao. A subsequent replica built in the 20th century (pictured above) depicts the "Santa María" as a caravel. The caravel did not have the high forward structure of the nao. Apparently Columbus himself referred to the "Santa María" as both a nao and a caravel in his own journal. The 1992 reconstruction of the "Santa María" is also as a nao, which is the most commonly accepted type of ship. ["The Ships of Christopher Columbus", Xavier Pastor, Naval Institute Press, 1992, ISBN 978-1844860142 - a good reference on reconstructions of the "Santa María" (along with the Pinta and Niña).] .

ee also

*Voyages of Christopher Columbus
*The Pinzon Brothers
*Columbian Exchange
*Ship replica (including a list of ship replicas)
*Santa María Rupes, a ridge on Mercury named after this ship

Notes and references

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