Spanish galleons on the Pacific ca. 1750-1820?

Sep 2018
74
transitory
#11
Thank you Tulius and Dir for your informative posts. I agree that the terminology can be a bit hard to pin down, I have certainly come across "galleon" used in a much broader sense now than what I was accustomed to. Unfortunately part of my problem with accessing information on this topic is my inability to read Spanish, although I guess that's what forums like this are for. It certainly makes it a bit more confusing for my research attempts when I come across vessels labeled in English as "galleons" which, it turns out, would not have fit the characteristics of this ship class.

It's interesting that you mention Konstam's book on Galleons, Tulius. I was reading that exact passage you quoted earlier today before I saw your post :p

Dir, do you by any chance know of pictoral representations of the kinds of modified galleons that you described? I would be interested to get a look at them, to help get a better understanding of the evolution of these ships.

I will try to look through that book you linked Tulius, even though I can't read it. Google translate might be able to help me with at least some sentences on the pages you mentioned.

I guess, in the context of my interests for this thread, what I am really looking for is evidence of ships around the later 18th century that would fit the characteristic galleon design: e.g. three or four masted square-rigged vessels with lateen-rigged mizzen masts, high sterncastle and square quarter gallery, long beak, and an inward sloping hull towards the top deck. I have come across vessels still bearing features of this design in the early 18th century, so I am curious to know just how late the archetypial galleons survived...?
 
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Aug 2015
2,659
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#12
IMHO the term galleon properly refers to a ship type used by Europeans c. 1500 to c. 1650 more or less. And that most later sailing ships should be called plain ships or square rigged ships, a design used more or less from c. 1600 to c. 1800 or c. 1850, after which sailing ships sort of divided to several more specialized types until they were totally replaced by steamships. Naval galleons more or less evolved into ships of the line or line of battle ships, while civilian galleons more or less evolved into square rigged ships. But other people may have other opinions about the time period when galleons were in use.

As far as I can tell nautical terminology can be very annoying and confusing in even one language, with the same term used for different types of ships, and the same type of ship being called by different terms.

I actually recall seeing a sort of a galleon in person in the 1960s, passing by a replica ship docked somewhere in Cape May Harbor, between Cape May and Wildwood. I was told it was a replica of Henry Hudson's ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), but according to this article neither replica of the Half Moon existed in the 1960s. Halve Maen - Wikipedia

Anyway, I suppose that some old fashioned shipwrights in the 18th century might possibly have been making ships old fashioned enough that you would consider them galleons, though I know of no evidence of such ships.
 
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Dec 2014
6,125
Spain
#13
One time more our common friend Tulius is right. I´ve been researching data... and it is clear.. Real Armada never had any Gallion in 18th Century named "Nuestra Señora del Rosario". There were 2 ships of line and 3 frigates during 18th Century with this name. But they didn´t sunk!

So I guess the "list of wikipedia" have named "Galleon" what likely was only a merchant ship...very often English sources named "Galleon" each Spanish ships. I think not Galleon in fleet after 1730... it is similar in land... for them Spanish Infantry means Tercios... when Tercios were a Elite, only few units were Tercios. The same about gallions.
 
Nov 2015
1,666
Kyiv
#14
I think in the 18th century it was appropriate to call a galleon a large Spanish ship for delivery of a valuable cargo from America to Spain or across the Pacific to Manila, etc. She had gun armament for self-defense, but less than that one of an ordinary battleship of the same size.

According to the sailing, the 18th century galleon differed little from the frigate or battleship of the time. That is, she was square rigged, had a bowsprit with a jib-boom, a jib and staysails and the usual for that time spanker instead of a Latin lower sail on a mizzen-mast. It was built from tropical solid wood for greater strength.

Compare with the Spanish battleship Santissima Trinidad built of mahogany in 18c that participated in the Battle of Trafalgar. I would like to call this ship a galleon but its Irish shipbuilder probably provided the ship with with certain British features. On the other hand, the invitation of a shipbuilder from Britain to Spain can say that they decided to use the best British experience for the construction of such large ships. And the experience could be used in the construction of galleons, too.

At the same time, I do not think that the Spanish galleon of the 18th century was significantly different from the large British East Indiaman in architecture, armament and sails. National features of such large ships with square rigs in the 18th century became less noticeable. I can distinguish the British frigate from the French for some differense in their rig , but I do not see any special external features of the big navy ships of the 1-4 rate built in other countries
 
Feb 2019
211
California
#15
Thank you Tulius for all of that information, it's very interesting to read about the evolution of ships used on the Manila galleon run. It makes sense to me why "galleons" fell out of use on this route after the 1730s, by that point they would have been becoming a fairly outdated ship type anyway.

I am still curious though, whether the end of "galleons" on the Manila galleon route means this ship type also fell out of use across the Spanish Pacific altogether, or if there are any later cases of the "galleon" type being used for other purposes in the period I have asked about?

For example in this article "List of shipwrecks in 1771" we find mention of 'Las Tres Puentes' (described as a galleon wrecked off the coast of Florida) and 'Nuestra Señora del Rosario' (also described as a galleon wrecked off Florida): List of shipwrecks in 1771 - Wikipedia

Obviously that is on the Atlantic side, but if these two were actually of "galleon" type, then it would indicate that some of this class were still operating in the second half of the 18th century. I don't know those two ships, so I can't say.
They would have been a very outdated ship type already by 1720. I'm guessing that a 1720 "galleon" would not look much like the classic Spanish-Armada era ship that pops into our minds but I would be quite willing to be proven wrong.
 
Sep 2018
74
transitory
#16
Thank you very much everyone who has contributed to this thread so far, it's very interesting for me to read these posts both about the evolution of Spanish shipping in the period, and also to learn just how careful we need to be when coming across the term "galleon" in a historical context.
 
Likes: BuckBradley
Dec 2014
6,125
Spain
#17
I think in the 18th century it was appropriate to call a galleon a large Spanish ship for delivery of a valuable cargo from America to Spain or across the Pacific to Manila, etc. She had gun armament for self-defense, but less than that one of an ordinary battleship of the same size.

According to the sailing, the 18th century galleon differed little from the frigate or battleship of the time. That is, she was square rigged, had a bowsprit with a jib-boom, a jib and staysails and the usual for that time spanker instead of a Latin lower sail on a mizzen-mast. It was built from tropical solid wood for greater strength.

Compare with the Spanish battleship Santissima Trinidad built of mahogany in 18c that participated in the Battle of Trafalgar. I would like to call this ship a galleon but its Irish shipbuilder probably provided the ship with with certain British features. On the other hand, the invitation of a shipbuilder from Britain to Spain can say that they decided to use the best British experience for the construction of such large ships. And the experience could be used in the construction of galleons, too.

At the same time, I do not think that the Spanish galleon of the 18th century was significantly different from the large British East Indiaman in architecture, armament and sails. National features of such large ships with square rigs in the 18th century became less noticeable. I can distinguish the British frigate from the French for some differense in their rig , but I do not see any special external features of the big navy ships of the 1-4 rate built in other countries

Well, I think it is no appropiate save we think "Cutty Sack" i n 19th Century, the famous clipper was a galleion too. I think you are confusing Galleion Santísima Trinidad and the battleship Santísima Trinidad. The latter was never a Galeón but a First line battlehsip.
Santísima Trinidad was not built in Ireland or in Britain but in Spain.. exactly in Havana Yard with wood from Camagüey. Santisima Trinidad was designed by Mullán Brothers (Don Ignacio and Don Mateo) and Don Pedro de Acosta... any of them were Irish or from Ireland at all.

Santísima Trinidad was a 140-gunned battleship in Trafalgar:

32 36-pounder guns
34 24-pounder guns
36 12-pounder guns
18 8-pounder guns
16 24-pounder howitzers
4 4-pounder howitzers

Total: 140 guns and howitzers in Trafalgar in 1805. The greatest battleship in the world in that age.. and it was not a gallion.
 
Nov 2015
1,666
Kyiv
#18
Well, I think it is no appropiate save we think "Cutty Sack" i n 19th Century, the famous clipper was a galleion too. I think you are confusing Galleion Santísima Trinidad and the battleship Santísima Trinidad. The latter was never a Galeón but a First line battlehsip.
Santísima Trinidad was not built in Ireland or in Britain but in Spain.. exactly in Havana Yard with wood from Camagüey. Santisima Trinidad was designed by Mullán Brothers (Don Ignacio and Don Mateo) and Don Pedro de Acosta... any of them were Irish or from Ireland at all.
- I perfectly realise that she was a battleship. Meanwhile - wiki says -

She was built at Havana, Cuba, to a design by Irish naval architect Matthew Mullan (domiciled in Spain under the name Mateo Mullán)

Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad - Wikipedia
 
May 2016
4,831
Portugal
#19
I think in the 18th century it was appropriate to call a galleon a large Spanish ship for delivery of a valuable cargo from America to Spain or across the Pacific to Manila, etc. She had gun armament for self-defense, but less than that one of an ordinary battleship of the same size.
But, why would we call it appropriately a galleon, if at the time no one call it that way since the beginning of the 18th century… and it doesn’t fall into our classification of galleon? Just because the current (and nominally incorrect) designation “Manila galleon” given to the Pacific trade route? Because the term galleon is commonly incorrectly used in pop history? Because to me it seems that is a miss use of the term after the 3rd or 4th decennium of the 18th century.

- I perfectly realise that she was a battleship. Meanwhile - wiki says -

She was built at Havana, Cuba, to a design by Irish naval architect Matthew Mullan (domiciled in Spain under the name Mateo Mullán)

Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad - Wikipedia
The article doesn’t seem to state that “ Irish shipbuilder probably provided the ship with with certain British features”. Or we have signs of those features, or is a speculative sentence.
 
Nov 2015
1,666
Kyiv
#20
Santissima Trinidad



The influence of British traditions in the architecture of Santissima through the Irish shipbuilder that participated in its construction is just my version, and nothing more. I drew attention to the fact that this ship had a flat transom of oval shape that was usual for the of British battleships and frigates

I may be mistaken - but I do not see any national features in the architecture of Santissima. She is very reminiscent of the British battleships of the 18th century and differs little from the French. And rather, it reflects my idea that at this time a significant common features arose in the architecture of warships of rank 1-5 that were built in different countries