Santa Maria

Carrack used by Christopher Columbus
7.92 metre
2.1 metre
maximum capacity
applies to part
23.6 metre
3.4 metre
7.5 metre
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Santa María (ship, 1482)
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La Santa María, English "The Saint Mary," alternatively La Gallega, was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, the others being the Niña and the Pinta. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa, a man of Basque ethnicity from Santoña, Cantabria (at the time of his birth part of Biscay), operating in south Spanish waters. Requisitioned by order of Queen Isabella and by contract with Christopher Columbus, whom de la Cosa knew previously, the Santa Maria became Columbus' flagship on the voyage as long as it was afloat. Having gone aground on Christmas Day, 1492, on the shores of Haiti, through inexperience of the helmsman, it was partially dismantled to obtain timbers for Fort Navidad, "Christmas Fort," placed in a native Taíno village. The fort was the first Spanish settlement in the New World, which Columbus had claimed for Spain. He thus regarded the wreck as providential. The hull remained where it was, the subject of much modern wreck-hunting without successful conclusion. On its return to Spain, the expedition was instantly an international success story. Columbus and his crews paraded the streets of Barcelona, on the way to be received by the queen, in the company of natives in gala native dress (mostly body paint) wearing ornaments of gold, now crown property. All the peccadillos of the formerly mutinous crews were forgiven and forgotten, except for obscure journal entries. As soon as was feasible the Queen launched an armada of 17 ships with settlers and troops for the relief of Fort Christmas and further solidification of Spanish power there. The Niña and the Pinta sailed again. Columbus acquired a new flagship, believed, in the majority view, also to have been named the Santa Maria, but the sources give a few variants, such as the early Italian form, Marigalante. Juan de la Cosa was certainly on the second voyage although his status is somewhat uncertain. The majority view is that he had reconciled to Columbus and served again as the master of the Santa Maria, although perhaps not for the entire voyage. This time there was no grumbling and no mutinous talk or actions, as Columbus had at his command what were effectively royal marines. The second expedition arrived at Fort Christmas, anchoring carefully away from the sandbar. They found the fort burned and abandoned. A few corpses of Europeans lay nearby. The chief of the Taino admitted the colonists were all dead, slain by the Taino natives. The chief denied complicity, claiming a wound inflicted in their defense. Subsequent investigation failed to clear him. The shock altered Columbus' perception of his mission. Formerly he had respected the natives, even the ones taken into custody. Now he disrespected them, against the express orders of the queen. The sad outcome was a policy of enslavement and genocide, for which he was ultimately courtmartialed, convicted, and enjoined from further "colonial" activities, including removal from his hereditary offices.
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Santa Maria (ship)
The shipwreck of the Santa Maria
Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción
Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepcion
Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción
La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción
The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception
La Santa María
La Gallega (ship)
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