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" around 70 feet, and was used as the flagship for the expedition. In 1492, in the middle of the expedition, the ship was beached accidentally on a reef and its wood used to build shelters.
external image 200px-Santa_Maria_43215.JPGexternal image magnify-clip.pngA non-sailing replica found in Columbus, Ohio, USA
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) vessels and were never meant for exploration.
The Santa María was originally named La Gallega ("The Gallician"), probably because she was built in Galicia. It seems the ship was known to her sailors as Marigalante, literally "Dirty 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 ship was about 70 ft (18 m) long, had a deck and three masts. She was the slowest of Columbus' vessels but performed well in the Atlantic crossing. The ship ran aground off the present-day site of Môle Saint-Nicolas, Haiti on December 25, 1492.
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 conjectures.

This information was taken from

As with the Santa Maria no clear picture of Christopher Columbus exists today. The link in the article from Wikipedia and these two show some of the portraits that exist.


The files below give a lengthy description of a carrack taken from "The Book of Old Ships" by Gordon Grant and Henry B. Culver.


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